The Roanoke bass is one of the rarest members of North America's bass-sunfish family. The species is often confused with rock bass which are similar in appearance.
The Roanoke bass can be distinguished by its cheeks which have little or no scales. The Roanoke bass also has smaller scale spots than the rock bass and small light-colored spots on its upper body.
Roanoke bass are found in clear streams and creeks, but also occur in man-made reservoirs. They are often associated with currents, pools, and rocky, gravel, or sandy bottoms.
The native range of the Roanoke bass includes the Roanoke and Chowan River drainages of Virginia and the Tar and Neuse River drainages in North Carolina. The species is also found in Leesville and Smith Mountain Lakes in Virginia and the Uwharrie River in North Carolina.
In some areas, Roanoke bass populations are thought to be in decline due to competition with non-native green sunfish.