Yakima: Blue-ribbon stream?

Hey all,

I always hear the Yakima refered to as a "blue ribbon" trout stream. Is there an official definition of "blue ribbon"?

I have heard the Yakima holds somewhere around 725 trout per mile. I believe Montana's Madison (another river called "blue-ribbon") has upwards of 3,000 trout per mile.

Also, the Yakima seems to contain mostly small trout. While I have had a couple of happy days on the Yak where I caught fish measuring in the high teens, it seems the largest population segment falls in the 9-12" range.

Of course, that's just a guess.

Any of you go out and regularly catch fish bigger than 12-14" in the river? If so, it would give me a lot of hope!

Blue-ribbon is of course a relative term. In Washington, the Yak is blue-ribbon; in Monatana it would probably not be fished.

750 per mile is a little high. I think in most stretches it's less than 600. On the other hand, I think 3000 is high for the Madison as well; I belive it's slightly less than 2000. The Deschutes is slightly more than 2000. Keep in mind that all counts generally include all trout over 9". That said, the average fish in the Madison or the Deschutes are obviously larger than the Yakima trout, but all big rivers will have a lot of small fish as part of the population.

My own experience has been that I'm catching more fish on the Yak in the 12"-14" range than I used to, and quite a few fish in the 16"+ range, that were almost unheard of (at least for me) five or six years ago. Whether that's the result of better management or better fishing on my part I can't say. Having a boat certainly hasn't hurt.

According to biologists, the C&R regs will probably do little to increase the overall population, but it can improve the percentage of larger fish within the pop. In the meantime, since I have no choice, I try not to fixate on numbers or labels. The Yakima is the river I drew, so I'll play it.