Yellow Bass
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Top view adult.
  • Bottom view adult.
  • Head-on view adult.
  • Close-up flank.
  • Close-up head.
  • Close-up mouth and snout.
  • Close-up tail.
  • Close-up dorsal fin.
  • Close-up anal fin.
  • Close-up pectoral fin.
  • Close-up pelvic fin.
  • Close-up dorsal fin: Notice that the dorsal fins are slightly connected; there are 11-13 dorsal rays.
  • Close-up inside of mouth: Notice that there are no tongue teeth.
  • Close-up anal fin: Notice that the 2nd anal spine is about equal in length to 3rd; there are 8-10 anal rays.
  • The profile is strongly arched, the body is laterally compressed with the deepest part before the spiny dorsal fin.
  • Close-up flank: Notice the dark horizontal stripes, broken and offset below the lateral line; there are 49-55 lateral line scales.
  • Close-up underside of head: Notice that the chin is often bluish-purplish; otherwise breeders are similar to non-breeders.
  • Side view of a young-of-year: Juveniles are similar to adults, but are less deep bodied and the horizontal stripes are not as pronounced.
  • Alternative view of the dorsal fin.
  • Alternative view of the flank.
  • Alternate view of the mouth.
  • Close-up breast: Notice the yellow color, hence the common name "yellow" bass.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Temperate Basses (Moronidae)
Mouth and snout: Terminal and oblique. Small teeth in patches on upper and lower jaws. No barbels. Body patterning, color, and scales: 6-8 dark horizontal lateral stripes over an olive, silver, or white body, often with a yellowish cast, especially ventrally. 49-55 ctenoid lateral line sclaes. Fins pigmented gray or brown. Body shape and size: Body deep and laterally compressed. Typically 150-225 (6-9 in); maximum about 400 mm (16 in).
Tail, dorsal and other fins: Slightly forked tail. Two dorsal fins, slightly connected by a membrane, the anterior with usually 9 spines and the posterior with 1 spine and 11-13 rays. Pelvic fins thoracic. No adipose fin. Anal fin with 1 spine and 8-10 rays.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The yellow bass differs by having 3 anal spines and 6-8 dark horizontal stripes, by the conspicuous spine on the upper back part of the opercle, the saw-edged margin of the preopercle, and the 6-8 horizontal stripes. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Similar to nonbreeders; yellow color may be more intense in breeders.
Similar to adults, but less deep-bodied.
White Bass X yellow bass (no photos); yellow bass X white perch reported from elsewhere, but not confirmed from Wisconsin (no photos).
Compare Similar Species
Body Pattern
Bass, Striped6-8 distinct black horizontal stripes, usually not offset
Bass, White6-8 distinct black horizontal stripes, usually not offset
Bass, Yellow6-8 distinct black horizontal stripes, often broken and offset above anal fin
Perch, WhiteSolid color; faint stripes may be present in juveniles
Body Profile
Bass, StripedRounded anteriorly and not arched; deepest part of body below spiny dorsal; more elongate and fusiform than others
Bass, WhiteRounded anteriorly and not arched; deepest part of body below spiny dorsal; laterally compressed
Bass, YellowSomewhat arched anteriorly; deepest part of body below spiny dorsal fin; laterally compressed
Perch, WhiteSharply arched anteriorly; deepest part of body before spiny dorsal fin; laterally compressed
Dorsal Fins
Bass, StripedSlightly separate or touching but not connected by membrane
Bass, WhiteSlightly separate or touching but not connected by membrane
Bass, YellowSlightly connected
Perch, WhiteSlightly connected
Dorsal Rays (2nd Dorsal Fin)
Bass, Striped10-14, usually 11-12
Bass, White12-51, usually 13-14
Bass, Yellow11-13, usually 11-12
Perch, White10-13, usually 11-12
Anal Spines
Bass, Striped2nd clearly shorter than 3rd
Bass, White2nd clearly shorter than 3rd
Bass, Yellow2nd and 3rd about equal in length
Perch, White2nd and 3rd about equal in length
Anal Rays
Bass, Striped9-12, usually 10-11
Bass, White11-13, usually 12
Bass, Yellow8-10, usually 9
Perch, White8-10, usually 9-10
Lateral Line Scales
Bass, Striped53-65, usually 57-63
Bass, White52-60, usually 54-58
Bass, Yellow49-55, usually 49-51
Perch, White44-52, usually 46-4
Tongue Teeth
Bass, StripedTwo elongated patches on rear of tongue, distinctly separate
Bass, WhiteSingle oval patch on rear of tongue, ocassionally with medial division
Bass, YellowNone
Perch, WhiteNone
Similarity Index
Bass, StripedVery similar
Bass, WhiteVery similar
Bass, YellowN/A
Perch, WhiteVery similar
Bass, StripedNot established in WI; speciment reported but unconfirmed in the Fox River, Kenosha County, presumably a stray from stocked populations in Illinois
Bass, YellowModerately similar to yellow perch, ruffe, sunfish family; differs from yellow perch and ruffe by having 3 (vs 2) anal spines and light olive, silvery, or whitish body without obvious vertical bars or mottling, and from sunfishes by the conspicuous spine