The round whitefish has a small head and a rounded snout with a single flap between the nasal openings. The body is generally slender, and the fins are small. The adipose fin is aligned with the anal fin. The back is colored brown or bronze with dark-edged scales. The sides are silver with a green sheen. The pectoral, pelvic and anal fins are yellow-brown. The dorsal and caudal fins have darker coloration than the other fins. Juveniles are silver and have two or more rows of dark spots on the sides and a row of dark spots on the back. The maximum length of this species is about 22 inches.
Round whitefish swim in schools near the bottom. They spawn in November and December. Eggs hatch in April or May. The young reach maturity at three or four years of age. This species eats small aquatic invertebrates.