'Trout king of Sask.': 2 men who died in crash remembered as passionate anglers

Just hours after being awarded Angler of the Year at a Saskatchewan fishing tournament, Steve Taylor and his friend Cody Strass died in a crash near Watson.

Dallas Kirkpatrick is also a longtime tournament walleye fisherman. He said Taylor and Strass died on their way back from the Last Mountain Fall Walleye Classic.

“I think what you'll find when you ask anybody else from the fishing community about Steve is that he was just a very humble and likable guy,” said Kirkpatrick.

“Cody was pretty much unanimously considered the trout king of Saskatchewan,” he added.

“He was always very outgoing, and he'd never walk away from a conversation, especially about fishing. He lived for fishing – It was his passion, his job, and everything in between.”

Melfort RCMP responded to the crash at 12:30 a.m. on Sunday on Highway 6, about 10 kilometres north of Watson, according to a news release.

Investigators determined a minivan collided with a truck towing a boat on a trailer.

The two men in the truck, a 35-year-old man from Pickerel Lake and a 42-year-old man from Melfort, were pronounced dead on scene. The driver of the minivan, a 43-year-old man from Spalding, also died.

A GoFundMe has been created to support Taylor’s wife and four children. As of Monday afternoon, it’s raised about half of its $50,000 goal.

“The days, weeks and months ahead are going to be met with many challenges as they begin to navigate life with Steve no longer here,” wrote Christie Parker, the organizer of the fundraiser.

Kirkpatrick said he works for Angler’s Atlas and MyCatch, which hosts Walleye Wars, a tournament series across Canada. Taylor and Strass were also avid supporters of that tournament, he said.

Walleye Wars, unlike many other tournaments, is based on length instead of weight – an idea Kirkpatrick pitched to other top anglers in Saskatchewan, including Taylor.

“Whenever we had detractors or people saying something negative about the tournaments because they either didn't like the format or how the events were being run, Steve was always one of the first people to send me a personal message offering his support and words of encouragement,” he said.

RCMP say a traffic reconstructionist is investigating the crash.

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