Honoring a Local Fisherman - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Honoring a Local Fisherman

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Many local fisherman are grieving after losing a man they not only called their fishing guide but their friend.

People we talked to said that if you went out with Jeff Johansen you were not only going to catch a lot of fish, but you were going to have a really good time doing it. They say, without him, fishing just isn't the same.

Johansen's friend Mark Shear says, "It's pretty tragic. Everybody loves him."

Brad Johnson says, "I miss just hearing fish slayer, hod rod."

Shear says, "He was really sincere in helping you out. He wanted you to have a good time on the water."

Friends say whenever they went out fishing they wanted Jeff by their side because he was just that good. Shear says, "I'm convinced Jeff could catch a fish out of a chuck hole on George Washington Way."

But tragically in May as the guide on yet another fishing trip, friends say that Johansen first went into a diabetic coma and then later died at the age of 37. But besides being a master fisherman, friends say he was the best of friends and a great listener.

Shear says, "Jeff had a way of looking at you tilting his head back and saying, 'really,' like he was really there listening."

Johnson says, "After hanging out for just 15 minutes, you had a love and respect for what he did."

And friends say that while being a great friend, he was also a family man. Even in the midst of a very busy schedule, friends say he was good to his wife and that he was very loving toward his two children, Reilly and Lilly.

They say that while he had a short life, he had a lasting impact. Shear says, "The legend lives on."

This Saturday, Jeff's friends are having a Salmon Derby. Participants can pay a $25 entry fee at Sportsman's Warehouse and Joe's Outdoors until 9pm Friday night.

The derby hours will start at 5am and finish up at 4:30pm, with the weigh-in planned at Columbia Point Marina. All the money will go to Jeff's wife Tami and their two children Lilly and Reilly.