A laterally compressed, slab-sided spiny-rayed fish, the yellow bass has a yellow-olive to silvery-yellow coloration along back and sides that shades to yellowish white along the belly and pelvic fins. Six to seven prominent, dark horizontal stripes are displayed along the sides that are broken and offset above the front of the anal fin. The dorsal fin is comprised of two slightly connected lobes. Nine spines make up the first lobe and one spine and 12 soft rays are found in the second. The anal fin usually has 9 soft rays and 3 spines that are unevenly graduated. The first spine is considerably shorter than the other two, which are nearly equal in length. The mouth is scarcely oblique and the lower jaw projects slightly beyond the upper jaw. The yellow bass is similar in appearance but differs in many physical attributes from white bass. In yellow bass, the dorsal fin lobes are not completely separated, the first stripe below the lateral line is distinct and complete to the tail, and the base of tongue is devoid of a tooth patch.