The Roanoke bass is a sunfish and a member of the Centrarchidae family, similar in body shape to a rock bass or warmouth. It can be identified by its unscaled or partly scaled cheek and the several iridescent gold to white spots on its upper side and head. It is olive to tan above, has a dark and light marbling on the sides, and often sports rows of black spots and a white to bronze breast and belly. It is also distinguished by the 39 to 49 lateral scales, 11 anal rays, and 27 to 35 scale rows across its breast between the pectoral fins. The all-tackle world record is a 1-pound, 5-ounce fish taken in Virginia in 1991.
Growing to a maximum of 141⁄2 inches, the Roanoke bass occurs in North America in the Chowan, the Roanoke, the Tar, and the Neuse River drainages in Virginia and North Carolina. It inhabits the rocky and sandy pools of creeks and small to medium clear rivers.