The effect of temperature on food consumption, food conversion and somatic growth was investigated with juvenile burbot Lota lota(age 0 years). Juvenile burbot showed a significant dome shaped relationship between relative daily food consumption (CR) and temperature (T) with CR = − 0·00044 T2 + 0·01583 T − 0·06010; (n = 90, r2 = 0·61). Maximum CR was at 17·9° C (95% CL 17·2–18·6° C). The temperature related instantaneous growth rate (G) also followed a dome shaped function with G = − 0·000063 T2 + 0·002010 T − 0·007462; (n = 95, r2 = 0·57), with maximum growth rate at 16·0° C (95% CL 15·3–16·6° C). A significant linear relationship was found between the water temperature and the conversion coefficient (CC) with CC = − 1·63 T + 59·04; (n = 80, r2 = 0·74). The results indicate that juvenile burbot in large lakes benefit from higher water temperatures in the littoral zone, by increased food uptake and growth, especially during the warm summer months. Because profundal water temperatures do not reflect the optimal temperature for food consumption in large burbot, temperature is unlikely to be the main proximate factor for the obligate littoral-profundal migration of juvenile burbot observed in many lake populations.