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Old 10-29-2004, 03:29 PM   #1
Jennie@ifish
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Default Celebration of Steve Koler's life

Let's hear some memories, guys.
Steve passed away in the last hour.
Let's rejoice in his life. Let's remember all of the wonderful things.
Let's celebrate who he was and the fishing legacy that he left with so many of us!
It's a very sad day for those of us who will miss him. But he is still with us... every time we are on the river.

Jen

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Old 10-29-2004, 04:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

My Prayers are With Steve and his family. Steve was Such a Icon in the industry.
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Old 10-29-2004, 04:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

I will miss spying on Steve as he fished his clients on the Willamette. This week a full moon was eclipsed by the shadow of the earth. The fall fish make their big push up river out of the big blue. And our fishing community lost a giant. Steve was a part of the cycle of life that we all loved. He will be missed.

My condolences to Steve's wife and Family and to his Brother Mike.

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Old 10-29-2004, 04:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life


Steve's family is in our prayers at this time, I didn't know Steve as most of Ifish does, but he sounded like he was a class act, a real stand up fisherman, and a great guy.
Your in our prayers.
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Old 10-29-2004, 05:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

My DEEPEST Condolences to Steve's family,wife and friends.I fished with Mr.Koler only once in Alaska at Koler's fish camp and will always have fond memories of the trip.Steve was an Exceptional person and I will miss him dearly.Fish on Mr.Koler.....fish-on.......Also As Steve would always say....Jesus CRIIIIiSTTTT!!!!
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Old 10-29-2004, 06:12 PM   #6
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Damm, Damm, Damm. I hate news like this! Steve you will be missed, as a matter of fact you have been missed on the water for a long time already. It will happen to all of us in due time, but why now to Steve, so young and full of life. May God be with your family Steve. To all ifishers, if you did not know Steve, you have missed out on knowing a great man and a super fishermen. If they have fish in heaven, I know that Steve will be teaching them how to fish, and always taste your sand shrimp before you put it on a hook. Please let us all know if and when services.
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Old 10-29-2004, 06:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

Both Gary Krum and Steve Koler gone from us in such a short time. So very sad. My prayers for his family.
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Old 10-29-2004, 06:40 PM   #8
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

Young Bill and I spent a night in Steve's camp on the Kenai. Billy snapped a rod on a fish and Steve never flinched. I caught a 51-pounder in my hour or two in one of his boats. The cleaning station's drain went into the river and had a couple of mink that would scurry up the tube and pop their heads out the drain hole to catch the first tidbits...Steve and his family were just topnotch hosts...He got so many people started in fishing...
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Old 10-29-2004, 06:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

It hurts my heart to hear this news.

I do reflect back and think about all the great times I had with Steve on the river.

I met my wife in Steves camp on the Deschutes one Labor Day weekend.

Caught my very first Clackamas springer and steelhead in Steves boat.

Learned how to back troll next to the Lake Line and the Garbage Hole like only the master could.

He showed me some nooks and crannys on the Willamette that still hold springers today.

I caught my largest ever Chinook with Steve in Alaska.

Enjoyed more than one of his awseome meals on the river bank.

Spent more than one night at a camp fire or under a lantern exchanging ideas and talking about fishing hunting and our next adventure.

Steve gave me my fist Duds Plug to troll with.

Hoisted a few beers together at some SuperBowl parties over the years.

Steve showed me how to trim your out board up so that the jet can shoot water and knock your buddy over that is enjoying his dinner in a lawn chair on the river bank. :grin: A stunt I still enjoy today.

Laughed, talked, ate, drank, and always had a good time when I was blessed with his company..





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Old 10-29-2004, 07:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

We've lost someone special. I felt a chill this afternoon when I heard that Steve Koler had passed away a half hour earlier. My mind flashed back many years to a chubby four year old with big ears, short pants, and a grin from ear to ear who I first met at his Uncle Dudley's home on the Willamette.

As years passed, this little guy grew into perhaps the most intense and one of the most expert anglers I have known. When I guided, I was honored that Steve trusted me to sublet "overflow" trips with some of his clients. I recall the big trip to the Kenai in about l990 when we hauled the tons of boats, tents, and equipment to set up his camp for the first time. He worked and worried harder than anyone in this great adventure. All of your who knew him can picture this. I was concerned then that he might burst a blood vein.

Well, it happened. This past year he has had a series of strokes. He did, however, manage to make it to Alaska this past summer and caught his last big one -- a 65 pounder as I heard it. He was always so positive and intense. We have lost today a special angler and friend. I am going to believe next springs run is going to be better where he is than where we are.
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Old 10-29-2004, 10:06 PM   #11
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I'm very sad to learn of Steve's passing. I met him at the Sportsmen's show 10 or 12 years ago. He was giving a seminar on Spring Chinook. I was so impressed with the breadth of his knowledge that afterwords I approached him and asked if he was giving any other talks. He replied that yes, he was going to be at the Oregon City Elks(Lions?) the following weekend. Then I asked him if I could attend and film his presentation with my camcorder. After a short pause he said sure, why not. So I showed up with my camcorder and tripod and taped the entire thing. I watch this film every spring as the season approaches. It inspires and informs me. It stokes my "fishin' fire". At the time I felt awkward making such a request of a complete stranger but Steve put me at ease right away. He was very approachable. Now that he's passed on I'm so glad I did. If a copy of this movie might comfort the family I'll happily provide one.
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Old 10-30-2004, 06:09 AM   #12
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

This is very sad news and my prayers are with both Steve and his family. I won a half day trip with Steve from the NW Steelheaders probably 15 or so years ago. Gave that to my wife and payed my own half day while we fished the Willamette. My wife got a nice springer, I lost mine, and we had a great day. Steve was most impressive backbouncing a boat load of clients through open spots in hoglines. An expert for sure and he will be missed.
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Old 10-30-2004, 11:26 AM   #13
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

Yes Steve will be missed, but his memory will live forever...

I get a kick out of all the nice comments about a guy when they are gone...Steve would be beat red cheeked if he heard all these nice comments....

I met him over 16 years ago through David Johnson/NW Steelheaders~McLoughlin Chapter Koler invited David and I on several different trips...we were in high school and he didn't expect anything...he wanted to show us kids "how it's done"

He wanted us to catch fish sooo bad and when we did "rookie" "cracker" "oopsies" Koler would get [potty mouth]! But at the end of the day I learned....now David is the one is teaching and I also try to teach...that's what it's all about...

I knew Koler when he packed a .44, drank Wild Turkey and made Sailors (!#$!%@!) embarrassed...I'm saddened for his family, but delighted that he is no longer suffering....


Here's to "Dirty Steve" The other Clint Eastwood
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Old 10-30-2004, 11:53 AM   #14
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

I too won a donated fishing trip from Steve at a NW Steelheaders meeting. We fished the Clackamas back bouncing eggs and I had a great chance to hone my skill under his watchful eye. I also learned how to use beads to create a speader that could be used in place of a wire spreader. We caught several fish and I went home with two nice fish for the day. The Mcloughlin Chapter of NW Steelheaders was very fortunate to have Steve as a member. He will be missed.
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Old 10-30-2004, 12:07 PM   #15
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

Many years I remember seeing Steve fishing on the Deschutes and he was always wearing a red t-shirt with the sleaves cut off. I remember talking to him at Green Light asking him why the red shirt. He used to tell me that when his clients had their beer goggles on, it was so they recognize him. My hat is off to Steve, the next Deschutes "freight train" will be released to swim again in his remberance.

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Old 10-30-2004, 12:16 PM   #16
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

Steve will be missed.

I did know him personaly that is my loss. I did know of him and sometimes follow him around on the willamette trying to get lessons. I wish I would have known a great person like this.

My condolences to Steve's wife and Family.
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Old 10-30-2004, 01:02 PM   #17
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

Anyone have a picture of Steve Koler? I'm sorry, I just can't place him.

I'm sorry to hear this news, my prayers go out to his family.

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Old 10-30-2004, 05:31 PM   #18
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

This looks like one.
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Old 10-30-2004, 05:38 PM   #19
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

This thread will be a permanent link on the front page of ifish. When one of "us" goes on to that big river in the sky, we are added to the "Casting Memories" category on ifish.

Thank you so much for adding your thoughts and memories. They will mean a lot to so many people.
I'll also print it out for the family, and give it to them at the service.

Jen
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Old 10-30-2004, 06:01 PM   #20
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

Steve was the example of what most guides should follow. A love ofr his family, the streams he fished and dedication to make memories for as many anglers as possible without all the ego stuff.

I met Steve when I was a young Guide at Larry's Sports Center. He was very nice and shared many things that have helped me to this day. He reminded me that guiding was a privledge fish for a living and that guides had an obligation to help fishermen at every turn and never treat anyone poorly.

Many need to remember his words. He will be missed but his spirit is drifting on many Rivers we fish.

May God Bless his family.

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Old 10-30-2004, 09:56 PM   #21
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

I had Steve speak at our chater meetings of the TV Steelheaders several times and he was one of the most informative guides who ever spoke....

I really enjoyed his insight and perspective and he will be missed tremendously.....

God Bless his family during this difficult time
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Old 10-31-2004, 06:26 AM   #22
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

Steve had a very caring, soft side to him that made him special to us. He gave lots of advice when we set up our lodge in Alaska. He was genuinely concerned about how hard my wife was working to make it happen, something I did not immediately pick up on.

We both will miss him and keep him in our thoughts and prayers.
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Old 10-31-2004, 10:27 AM   #23
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

My prayers go out to Steve's family. I always remember listening to his very informative seminars and watching him suck the guts out of the cut plugged herring. A great fisherman and teacher.
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Old 10-31-2004, 01:18 PM   #24
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

My hopes and prayers go out to Steve's family.

I have had several opportunities to fish for springers with Steve and many of the above accounts bring back fond memories. The first time he put a sand shrimp in his mouth, how he loved to back bounce through the lake line and pull a fish out from under their anchor lines and my favorite was when we would anchor up and he would cook this wonderful salmon dinner and often we would hook a fish just as he was serving the lunch. We had several 8 fish days and the end of day photos with 4 happy anglers. I know Steve is doing what he loves on the other side and I hope I can book a trip when I join him.

Tight Lines Steve!
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Old 10-31-2004, 02:19 PM   #25
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Steve was my insparation for becoming a guide. I've known him since I was 12, seeing him out on the water fishing every day, I thought, "That's the life I want"

In High School he would sometimes take me fishing on the Willamette and Clackamas.

I fished with Steve in Alaska, catching my biggest king.

In the early 90's I shared a beach house in Barveiw with Steve.

He was always very genorous and willing to show me tricks of the trade.

I'm going to miss seeing Steve :depressed:
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Old 11-01-2004, 02:46 PM   #26
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The first winter steelhead of the season for me this year will be released in Steve's name and spirit. We have lost one of the "Good Guys". My condolences to his family.
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Old 11-01-2004, 04:31 PM   #27
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I was not fortunate enough to have ever known Steve, but if I've heard his name once I've heard it a thousand times. He was certainly well known in fishing circles. Even though I wouldn't have known him if I saw him, I feel a profound sense of loss with this news. My heart goes out to his friends and family. I'm sure that I've benefited from his life even though I never knew him.
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Old 11-01-2004, 06:51 PM   #28
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My thoughts and prayers go out Steve's family and closest friends in this their time of sorrow. I was fortunate to have fished in Steve's camp on the Kenai, what a great fisherman and gentleman. I have never witnessed anyone work harder and enjoy it is as much as Steve because he was doing exactly what he wanted to do with his life. We enjoyed some great meals in his camp and even some better stories all to the backdrop of the sockeye salmon so thick you could hear them hitting the parked boats on their journey up stream. He must have worked at least 20 hour days when the camp was full with all the cooking, cleaning, guiding and all the behind the sceens work that goes with it. I never heard him complain once. I also fished in Tillamook with him, his ability to always put you on a fish and remain calm when there were 200 other boats in the Ghost Hole during a major bite was very impressive. He was always very friendly and helpful, and if you wanted to know Steve would tell you exactly when and where the hot bites had been, not that he could not stretch the truth as much as all good fisherman, but with him you got more information than you needed, none of that zipperlip stuff. When I seen him at shows we talked of those large Coho that are just waiting to be caught every year, on almost every cast in some of the most pristine streams in southeast Alaska that we both love to fish. Steve was the owner of my 20ft. Willie Predator before I purchased it, and his luck has still not rubbed off of it. Its 12 years old, still on the original 200 Yamaha, and is a fish catching machine. Thanks Steve, for all those great adventures and memories, my largest Salmon ever and the only boat I will ever need. I'm sure if there are streams in heaven Steve is already putting on a clinic, be sure and save a few for the rest of us, we will be along all too soon.
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Old 11-02-2004, 10:16 AM   #29
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

For those of you that knew Steve>

I spoke to Steve's brother Mike Monday evening when I arrived home from a fishing trip and heard the news.

Mike told me that he went to see Steve the evening before he passed away. Steve was Clean Shaven with a fresh hair cut. Mike could see that Steve was at peace with himself as if he knew the end of his life was near. Steve smiled and was very content. Steve faced death as he did life. Like the man he was. Steve was my cousin but I feel like I lost a brother. Knowing I will never share another day of fishing, hunting or digging Butter Clams on the beach at Hoods canal is hard to consider. But Steve along with his Dad Powell Koler, Dud Nelson our Uncle and my father Tony Blaszak will be with in me in spirit where ever I go for the rest of my life and beyond. I still have the urge to brag to them or share a story with them wherever I go.

I wish I had the time to write some of the funny stories I could tell. Lets just say for as long as I can remember Steve Koler was a very mischievous boy that made his mother and fathers job of raising him a tedious task.

God speed Steve Koler I love you..

I am known in our family as Little Tony....
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Old 11-04-2004, 09:50 AM   #30
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I went to visit Mike Koler last night, he had out a box of photo's that he plans to bring to the Wake on Saturday.

Man ! If you could just peek at some of those pictures. There a tons of photo's with Steve and some of his clients
holding up fish. These picture tell stories just looking at them. Mike doesn't know who many of these folks are.
In the box is an audigraph photo of Steve Standing next to Jimmy Carter on the Willamette River.

Hopefully after this weekend I 'll be able to post some of them on IFISH. Stay tuned. I have one I will post today
with a Picture of him with a young fisherman I believe is Steve Smith. But he's looks so young it is hard to tell...
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Old 11-04-2004, 10:08 AM   #31
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Who is this guy with Steve ?

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Old 11-04-2004, 10:25 AM   #32
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

That's funny!
I thought... "is that Dave Johnson?" And then I looked at the name of the photo and it says David Johnson on it!

So... Is it?

:smile:

Jen
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Old 11-04-2004, 10:30 AM   #33
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

For anyone that missed it, Bill Monroe has an excellent Eulogy of Steve in today's Oregonian (11/4/04). I encourage you to get a copy and read it.

I searched oregonlive and it couldn't find it, (yet?), but you can find it in the back of the sports section where the Thursday outdoor report is.

Bill, if it isn't going to be on the web, maybe you could personally post the text here?

I knew Steve as a fellow fisherman as we went boat to boat on many of our rivers over the past 20 years or so. Though I never booked a trip with him, he never had a bad word to say to me. Some guides back in the era he started were somewhat less than cordial to the weekend warriors and non-professionals that fished "their" waters. Not Steve.

There is no doubt that he he showed his clients a caring, quality fishing trip that ended with fish far more often than not.

Thanks, Bill, for more insight on Mr. Koler!
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Old 11-04-2004, 10:34 AM   #34
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Honestly I don't know ! Mike Koler thought that it was so I put it on a floppy and brought it to work today.

Like I said there are ton of pictures in this box at Mike house. Wouldn't it be fun to post them one at a time
to see how many people on IFISH could claim them ?

I don't know Dave Johnson. I have seen him on the river and I was next to him once when he was talking to Dudley
but I haven't formally met him. I have heard like Steve He is a fine guide and a gentlemen to boot.
The people I know that know him say he is a great guy. So I hope this is him and I hope he enjoys the photo.
If he shows up Saturday I am sure Mike will give him the photo.

Some of these picture are funny in that they are so old people probably wouldn't recognize themselves.

I 've seen pictures of Steve Koler that would make you laugh. Long hair dressed in Crap from the hippy days.

He would be so embarressed.
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Old 11-04-2004, 10:41 AM   #35
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It's on the web, about halfway through this...

http://www.oregonlive.com/outdoors/o...3454286170.xml
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Old 11-04-2004, 12:37 PM   #36
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

Back in the late 70's before Steve started guiding my Brother Joe, Steve and I used to make reqular trips to the deschutes to fly fish the Salmon Fly hatch. I have many happy memories of those trips. When ever I think of Steve all I can do is chuckle as that is what he would make you do if you spent any time with him at all. He was a clown in many respects.

On one of these trips Steve and I were fishing mecca flats. Of course Steve was always after that five pounder. He was determined to catch one of those Trophies Dudley used to talk about. Steve was a little down river from me when I heard him yell out, " I got a big one, it's a five pounder"
Next thing I know Steve is in the middle of the river. His head bobbed up and down under water with him yelling FISH ON. He drifted towards an outcrop along the bank where the brush hung over and there was no way he could get to the bank. I was really worried he would drowned. In the middle of the river all I could see was a fly rod and two hands on the reel spinning the spool. But Steve made it around the corner and to the bank. He got the fish to shore. It was about a Seventeen inch Redside that was hooked in the tail.

" Steve, you moron.."

I seen him do the same thing once on the North Fork of the Nehalem during Coho Run. Who would jump into a rushing river in the middle of a cold rainy day with street clothes on just for a lousy fish ?

Steve Koler that's who.

Did you ever hear the time he blew a hole in the door of his dads truck with a shotgun ?
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Old 11-05-2004, 09:41 AM   #37
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

I didn't know Steve as well as some of you. I met him breifly up here in WA. And we would see each other at the sportsmans' shows. He shared with me how he fished banana shaped plugs and some of his pictures. He was blessed with a gift in his skill at capturing a moment or event.
Steve also brought an intensity toward the outdoors that was very infectious. He will be missed...
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Old 11-05-2004, 04:28 PM   #38
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I remember Steve as a very generous and thoughtful guy who always shared with others. He often stayed in the house next door in Barview while fishing the Tillamook fall run. Man, he could make a great seafood fettucini which he would cook for a lot of people in the house. My elderly great uncle who lived next door at the time would tell me Steve often would bring a plate over and took the time to talk with him while staying in Barview. I wish I could have told Steve in person how much random acts of kindness like these are appreciated especially by the solitary elderly and that this world would be much better if more followed his style.
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Old 11-06-2004, 07:23 AM   #39
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

The guy in the picture is Kerwin White from Oregon City. Steve was the guy Kerwin, aka "Kern", credits for teaching him a lot about salmon fishing. Kern's a great guy and looks very much the same. Picture is about 15 years old or so.
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Old 11-06-2004, 10:14 PM   #40
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In order to know a community, one must observe the style of its funerals and know what manner of men they bury with most ceremony.
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" In order to know a community " Indeed !

When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends.
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Old 01-28-2006, 02:00 PM   #41
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

Just revisited this site today. Wanted to let Steve know we are still thinking about him. Good thoughts!

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Old 01-28-2006, 03:19 PM   #42
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

Thanks for bringing this up Joe, it brought back some good memories.

If anyone reads this that has any of them, I'd love some old pics of me and Steve.
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Old 01-28-2006, 03:58 PM   #43
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

Funny this should pop back up.

Two nights ago I was out in the garage preparing for springer season tying up some gear. Steve crossed my mind as I was working away because I was using the methods that he taught me.

Some things are timeless.
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Old 01-28-2006, 04:04 PM   #44
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

I know what you mean. I was thinking about Steve last week as I wrote a STS article on fishing with prawns for springers.

Steve was the master at Willamette Springers.
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Old 01-28-2006, 04:52 PM   #45
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

I applied for a job with Steve's camp up in Alaska and never heard a thing back, then somebody told me what had happened! May he rest in peace with the fish Gods! to you Steve.
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:23 AM   #46
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

Its hard to believe that it has been almost 5 years that Steve has passed. I think of him often and all the great times we had together. Man I miss him.......

Pearl, same here. I have a spinner blade box that is full of Steve's designs from back in the Toman, Krum, Koler days down in the bay. Also Loaded with plugs , side plainer(s), and bobber/fly techniques from the Deschutes. Remember those days? Also, those hand painted T-50 & 55 flat fish that we use to paint and wrap up on the Kenia. These guys dominated that time frame here in Oregon, know one could compete.

David, you are a amazing fisherman, I enjoy reading about your success. I know you and Steve were pretty tight and he would be excited about your success. That article on casting those coho spinners this year, AWESOME!

Sorry to bring up such a old thread, but for those of us that knew Steve, fished with him, or learned from him, FISH ON!
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Old 09-04-2009, 07:14 PM   #47
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Default Re: Celebration of Steve Koler's life

Don,

You know it must be karma. I haven't looked at this section of ifish since January of 2006 and this pops up tonight???? Go figure.

The Deschutes is in full swing, Tillamook is just around the corner, a November elk hunt all bring back lifetime memories with Steve.

Hope you and Gene are doing well! No BS this year. We need to rendezvous in Tillamook County next month.

Pearl
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