Happy Birthday, we will never forget Maryland’s own, Lefty Kreh

By Mitch Keller, NY Times, March 14, 2018

For a half century, Mr. Kreh, a globe-trotting fisherman, journalist and author, was a colorful and highly influential figure in both freshwater and saltwater fly-fishing. In countless articles and more than 30 books, in videos, on television and at innumerable public appearances, he converted his vast experience into lucid observations and practical advice for anglers at all levels.

Mr. Kreh was always willing to re-examine traditional ideas in a sport laden with them. As he said about fly-fishing for trout in his book “Advanced Fly Fishing Techniques” (1994): “I feel that many people who are not really versed in the sport have either written or spoken about it, and they have attempted to create a concept that this is a very difficult sport to master. That simply isn’t true.”

While fly angling in fresh water for fish like trout and salmon is an old sport, saltwater fly-fishing is comparatively new, and Mr. Kreh was one of its earliest champions. His book “Fly Fishing in Salt Water,” which he said he wrote “not to make money, but so I didn’t have to answer so many darn questions,” was published in 1974 and remains an essential text.

A saltwater fly of Mr. Kreh’s design, Lefty’s Deceiver, is used all over the world, and in 1991 the Postal Service put it on a stamp.

Mr. Kreh was much in demand as an instructor of fly casting, the easily misperformed skill of unfurling a heavy fishing line to deliver a virtually weightless lure to wary fish. He gave demonstrations to thousands of anglers at his public appearances. Though born left-handed, he could cast with either hand and customarily used his right, which he said was better for teaching right-handed students.



Lefty Kreh Fishing Trail

Formerly known as the Gunpowder South Trail, the Lefty Kreh Fishing Trail runs along the Big Gunpowder Falls in an area that stretches from Prettyboy Reservoir to Big Falls Road.

Named after avid Maryland conservationist Bernard Victor “Lefty” Kreh, Kreh used every available means to promote conservation, clean water and giving back to the outdoors. Kreh’s works spearheaded the expansion of saltwater fly fishing across the country and then the world.

In 1974, he completed the seminal book on the sport—Fly Fishing in Saltwaters. He is also known for the Lefty’s Deceiver, a uniquely practical fly pattern he designed to fool striped bass—Maryland’s State fish—into biting an angler’s line. The bucktail fly pattern is the most widely used and imitated saltwater fly in the world.

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