Yellow Bass live in natural lakes, reservoirs and the backwaters of large rivers. It prefers clear to slightly turbid water and a firm bottom substrate of sand, gravel, rock rubble and mud. It is uncommon in abundance, but widespread in the Mississippi River. It is abundant in Hartwick Lake, an impoundment of the Maquoketa River. At one time it was one of the most numerous game fish in North Twin and Clear lakes and may be in other natural lakes. Yellow Bass are found in Lake Manawa. This fish has historically been distributed in the many man-made lakes and water-supply impoundments in southern Iowa. Their origin in these waters is unknown, but probably resulted from fish transported from the Mississippi River.
Yellow Bass looks like White Bass, but it differs in many physical features. 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 lacking a tooth patch.