Yellowtail rockfishes are large fish with heavy bodies and large lips. They tend to be greenish or yellowish on their backs with one row of oval to rectangular pale blotches and pale underneath the lateral line. As the name suggests, these fish have light yellow-green fins. The single row of pale blotches distinguishes the Yellowtail from Kelp Bass, which has multiple rows.
The Yellowtail tends to group in rather loose schools, often associating with other kinds of rockfish. They tend to be wary of divers, and often retreat if approached by human beings. If not threatened, they move slowly. Like most of their species, these fish are edible and are generally caught by trawling and long-lining.
Yellowtail Rockfish can be found from the Unalaska Islands in Alaska to San Diego, California. They are rarely found in southern California. The Yellowtail inhabits offshore reefs, over banks, and along descending coastlines. They are found to depths up to 1,942 feet (591 m). At night, the Yellowtail will rest on the ocean bottom.