The late Bernard “Lefty” Kreh threw a long shadow, having inspired or taught outright more fly fishers than probably anyone else in history. The native of Frederick, Maryland, was a longtime Baltimore Sun outdoor editor, longtime Metropolitan Miami Fishing Tournament director, and longtime angling celebrity whose fame was unmatched in the second half of the twentieth century. Kreh died in 2018, and on October 14, a life-size bronze of the legend will be unveiled and dedicated at Frederick’s Culler Lake, where Kreh taught fly-fishing lessons in his early years. A nonprofit group, Friends of Lefty Kreh (FOLK), raised funds for the statue from private and public sources. Kreh’s likeness, a work by Maryland sculptor Toby Mendez, has hip boots, a fly rod in his right hand, and eyes searching the water. Kreh was a humble man “who probably wouldn’t have liked this kind of fuss,” admits Heather Templeton, a FOLK board member, Frederick native, and fly-fishing star herself who sometimes traveled and taught with Kreh. “But he would have been honored by what we are trying to do with education in his name.” The statue installment is the first phase of FOLK’s ongoing efforts to honor Kreh’s legacy of outreach. The group plans an annual conservation festival, with scholarship funding for students pursuing education or initiatives in the conservation field. To that, Kreh would have given a definite tip of his trademark long-billed hat.
Lefty’s Final Cast
illustration: Tim Bower