Inhabits large and medium size lowland rivers, backwaters and well vegetated lakes (Ref. 59043). Occurs mainly in large lakes and rivers, though occasionally enters brackish water in the Baltic and Black Seas (Ref. 9988). Found in deep waters of dams constructed on the lower reaches of rivers (Ref. 9696). A nocturnal predator, foraging near bottom and in water column. Larvae and juveniles are benthic, feeding on a wide variety of invertebrates and fish. Adults prey on fish and other aquatic vertebrates. Attains first sexual maturity at 2-3 years of age (Ref. 59043). Spawns in the salt water of the Aral Sea (at Kulandy) (Ref. 1441). Marketed fresh, canned and frozen; can be pan-fried and baked (Ref. 9988). Locally threatened due to river regulation destroying shallow spawning sites (Ref. 59043).