Trout-perch are uniquely North American. The family includes two species, one of which is found throughout New York. This species can be identified by the combination of an adipose fin, spines in its dorsal and anal fins, and rough scales. It is native to New York and found in most drainages in a variety of lake and riverine habitats.
Trout-perch lives in the cooler parts of lowland streams and lakes and occasionally at depths over 200 ft. The 11 watersheds where it is found are mostly to the west and north, and the Hudson drainage is the only part of the Atlantic slope that is occupied. Infrequent records from lakes that it inhabits are typical and due to lack of proper sampling techniques.