Wanderers recorded a derby day victory to remember at Ewood Park as two first-half goals from Mark Davies and Nigel Reo-Coker helped to earn a 2-1 win over Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers.
On a nervy, entertaining and action-packed evening, Bolton went one goal to the good inside the first five minutes when Mark Davies scored only his fourth goal for the club with a precise low drive.
It was 2-0 before the break when Nigel Reo-Coker converted Martin Petrov's left-winged cross from six yards out.
Yakubu's 67th minute strike set up an interesting final quarter to the game, but Wanderers held on for a deserved three points which saw them overtake Blackburn in the Premier League table and send 3,000 Bolton fans back home with huge smiles on their faces.
Owen Coyle rang the changes after the 2-0 defeat at Fulham four days earlier. Martin Petrov was named in the starting line-up for the first time in nearly two months, while Gretar Steinsson was also restored at right-back. David Ngog and Ivan Klasnic were named up top together for the first time. The men to make way in the eleven were Dedryck Boyata, Kevin Davies and Darren Pratley.
There was a buzz about the place ahead of kick-off, particularly in the away end where there was hardly a spare seat with 3,000 fans making the 15-mile trip up the M61. Even Stuart Holden, who had returned from America at the weekend, went and sat amongst the Wanderers faithful.
And the travelling contingent were given something to shout about with less than five minutes on the clock as Mark Davies put Wanderers ahead with a classy left-foot shot from just inside the area.
Bolton had broken down the right wing and when Ngog's cross was bundled back to him, the Frenchman took time to pick out Mark Davies, who steadied himself before unleashing a shot through a number of bodies and past Paul Robinson's valiant dive.
It was the perfect opening to proceedings for Bolton, who seemed up for the game right from the first whistle. Nigel Reo-Coker came close to making it two with deflected drive from distance, while Blackburn's start to the game wasn't helped by two early bookings to Mauro Formica and Jason Lowe for cynical fouls.
After Bolton's early dominance, matters began to settle down with Blackburn offering more. A Junior Hoilett header drifted wide of the far post, but Bolton's resilient defending and early goal had given them a foothold in the game.
It was a foothold from which they could go on and score their second goal, which they did on the half-hour mark through Reo-Coker, who made the most of his second chance of the game.
Petrov, who had excelled in the opening exchanges, found space to gallop down the left wing and after sending across a low centre, Reo-Coker timed his run to perfection; pivoting inside the six-yard box and placing in the ball into the bottom corner.
As the former Aston Villa man wheeled away in celebration, up at the other end of the ground he was joined by 3,000 others associated with Bolton Wanderers. Meanwhile, in the three other stands, the atmosphere started to become frosty as the home fans vented their anger and frustration.
Simon Vukcevic fired into the side-netting from an acute angle and Hoilet flashed an effort well wide in the latter stages of the first half. Apart from that, Bolton had bossed and controlled the first 45 minutes. Indeed, it had been a very satisfactory first period for boss Coyle as the game went exactly as he would have wanted.
Steve Kean sent his players out of the dressing room a good five minutes earlier than they needed to at the start of the second half, and it was Rovers who came within inches of pegging Bolton back minutes after the restart, with Nzonzi side-footing narrowly over from the edge of the box.
Wanderers had to weather the pressure at the start of the second-half and their defensive efforts were hit when Marcos Alonso was forced from the field with an apparent foot injury on the hour. It was a cruel blow for the Spaniard as he had been a real threat up and down the left touchline for Bolton.
With Blackburn seeking a goal to get back in the game, the action became more and more open. There were several goalmouth scrambles at both ends of the pitch but the ball just would not go in. Indeed, Wanderers spurned a glorious chance when Ngog could not find the final pass with both Petrov and Muamba unmarked on the left side, while the Bulgarian drove wide of the near post in Wanderers' following attack.
Steve Kean threw on David Goodwillie and Ruben Rochina on 65 minutes, and the double substitution acted as a catalyst as the hosts pulled a goal back almost immediately, with Yakubu breaking the offside trap and chipping the ball over the onrushing Jaaskelainen from six yards out.
With the deficit halved, it set the scene for an interesting final 20 minutes, and that was what the 25,570 in attendance got.
The home fans cried for a penalty when Rochina took a tumble under substitute Robinson's challenge, while Yakubu's deflected drive clipped the side netting.
Likewise, Bolton created further opportunities, and substitute Tuncay could have killed the game off when he almost started and finished a breakaway move, only to be inches away from getting a final touch on Petrov's inviting cross from the left.
Darren Pratley was introduced in the final stages and the former Swansea man should have sealed the points when he latched onto to Petrov's pass deep into stoppage time, but he placed his finish agonisingly wide of the post.
It was looking like the miss could have been costly when Blackburn went straight up the other end where Chris Samba found space inside the box to win a header. But Wanderers' luck had finally changed, with the ball dropping past the post rather than inside it.
Seconds later and Martin Atkinson blew for full-time and Bolton had bagged what they had earned - a massive three points.
Blackburn: Robinson, Samba, Dunn, Formica (Rochina 64), Perdersen, Nzonzi, Hoilett, Yakubu, Hanley, Vukcevic (Goodwillie 64), Lowe (Subs not used: Bunn, Petrovic, Blackman, Roberts, Henley)
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Knight, Cahill, Alonso (Robinson 59), Mark Davies, Reo-Coker, Muamba, Petrov, Klasnic (Pratley 81), Ngog (Tuncay 72) (Subs not used: Bogdan, Kevin Davies, Boyata, Eagles)