Magazine subscriptions and memberships have long been that connection to the “thing” we love when we can’t be doing that “thing” at the moment.
They’re a tool for immersion, for learning, for pure visual and literary enjoyment of our chosen passion. Their stories, rankings, and advice articles seem to fill a much-needed role in our connection to fly fishing.
There have been old favorites and newcomers to the fly fishing magazine world over the years. Some of the old favorites are still standing and some have fallen by the wayside or been incorporated into another publication. Some of the newcomers are online only and some of the old and new offer print and online versions.
With a sea of voices to choose from, here’s our list of top fly fishing magazines available in the US (in no particular ranking/order).
Table of Contents
- TOP 17 Best Fly Fishing Magazines to Follow in 2023
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TOP 17 Best Fly Fishing Magazines to Follow in 2023
The Fly Fisherman Magazine
The Fly Fisherman Magazine has been regarded as the leading magazine in fly fishing for more than 45 years.
They’re known for bringing you the best information on destinations both near and far, along with tactics and techniques to help fly fishers of all skill levels catch more fish.
They find new fly patterns from the world’s best tier and bring you the latest news on how we can help to preserve and restore precious fisheries.
Their contributors include internationally recognized authorities like Lefty Kreh (posthumously), Rene Harrop, and Dave Whitlock.
They have access to a younger generation of guides and fly tiers as well. People like April Volkey, Blane Chocklett, Charlie Craven, and Oliver White are contributors and are known for exploring new frontiers while trying to find better ways of solving old problems.
The blend of experience and new ideas is appealing to a large readership and is published 6 times per year.
American Angler Magazine
American Angler Magazine – is packed with many featured articles. These will give you some of the most pertinent facts and practical tips that you need for successful fly fishing. It’s also a legacy magazine that’s been around for some time now.
American Angler includes in-depth information on affordable places to stay and fish across the US and abroad, in both freshwater and saltwater.
This includes proven techniques that will work on your home waters. The magazine’s feature columns will bring you the latest in tackle, techniques, and ideologies to protect and enhance our fisheries.
The most exciting part of this magazine is its approach to blending old publication techniques with the new, offering a unique offering in the fly fishing magazine space.
American Angler also puts out 6 issues per year.
American Fly Fishing Magazine
American Fly Fishing Magazine is a fusing of the old Southwestern, Northwestern, and Eastern Fly Fishing Magazines. Previously, readers may have noticed the same layout and design motif throughout the three publications. Of course, they did, however, contain different, regionally specific articles.
Since combining all three into one, the design and layout motif is still recognizable to the readers of the old magazines.
The updates, in print and online, are noticeable, clean, and easy to navigate. The articles concentrate on US destinations and are nicely categorized by region, species, or special interest.
This publication is a winner for US fishers who want solid, up-to-date advice and tactics on US fishing destinations.
Again, you’re getting an issue every other month with this publication.
The Drake Magazine
The Drake magazine (from the website itself) “ is a grassroots journal for fly fishing enthusiasts. It was founded in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in the summer of 1998 on the principle that too much contemporary outdoor writing gives away all the answers to people who never learned what the questions were.”
Today it includes emerging voices right alongside tried and true veteran craftsmen and women. It has long been touted as one of the core “newer” magazines in the fly fishing space.
The Drake focuses on US locations but also will venture into the destination fishing arena. It’s said to have a strong pull to (and is aimed at) Gen X and “Geriatric” Millennial-aged fly fishers.
The Drake is not an instructional publication – it is geared more toward reading enjoyment. The drakemag.com website will include stories and photos from the magazine but having the actual, physical magazine in your hand is worth it on this one.
The Drake is published quarterly and is well worth the wait.
Fly Tyer Magazine
Founded in 1978, Fly Tyer Magazine has always been known as home to the best fly-tying authors in the world and is the largest publication dedicated to the art. Fly Tyer Magazine is the fourth largest fly fishing Magazine in the world.
Its in-depth articles on fly-tying, techniques, tools, and the categorization of warm water, cold water, saltwater, and beginner tutorials (in print and online) offer a great way to learn new patterns or hone old ones.
Fly Tyer Magazine also publishes only four articles per year.
This is Fly
This is Fly Magazine is a new-era online fly fishing publication with modern graphics, photos, and articles. They excel at covering saltwater fly fishing destinations.
In this magazine, you can find a wide variety of coverage from the fly fishing mainstream to the fringes.
It also reaches into cultural contexts– visual art and music, in particular. Each issue features a soundtrack – a soundtrack! – that you can play in the background while dreaming about chasing thrashing tarpon or giant Lahontan cutthroat.
This is Fly is a digital-only publication and each issue is downloadable for a nominal charge…and it’s worth it!
Catch Magazine centers around fishing photography – really, really good fishing photography. This is the brainchild of Brian O’Keefe, an old-school fly guy and photographer. Each of these issues features first-run photography and short films along with accompanying articles.
Catch is a 100% digital/online magazine. This is obviously a great option for folks who don’t like the clutter of physical magazines and satisfies the eco-conscious consumer (….and helps the magazine’s bottom line obviously!).
However, for those tactile-driven folks who like to turn actual pages, this one’s not for you.
There is limited free content online but an annual subscription to this digital magazine is only $20 per year.
Scale Magazine is a relative newcomer in the arena. Scale is not a US publication…it’s based in Germany. It is, however, available in German and English versions and contains plenty of great articles from the world over…including top US destinations.
This magazine does cover a lot of different fishing styles and subjects too. The depth of each article is impressive though. Even with the great variance of the topics, they are generally packed with top-notch information. If you like learning, this magazine might be for you.
Scale is a digital publication as well so, if you aren’t one who likes to stare at a screen, you might want to look elsewhere. If you’re still interested, Scale has a clean, modern aesthetic and will appeal to (but is not limited to) a generally younger crowd.
Southern Culture On The Fly
Southern Culture On The Fly (SCOF) is a solid choice for anyone who lives in, visits, or dreams of traveling to the southern states for fly fishing. This publication does a great job highlighting the amazing diversity of fisheries in the southern US.
From the saltwater flats in Florida to the trout in the Southern Appalachians to the king of southern fishing…bass… SCOF has you covered.
The aesthetic is a fun, gritty, punk-rock-and-counter-culture one that will appeal to some and, most likely, send others running the other way. Personally, I think it’s a fresh take on a sometimes stuffy sport.
SCOF is another digital publication so you can’t touch it, but the street-art-like visuals and engaging writing are worth it.
The FlyFish Journal
The FlyFish Journal is a publication that seems like it’s been around for a while but is definitely not old-school. Published by the same house that brings you The Ski Journal and The Snowboarder’s Journal, The Fly Fish Journal was first published in 2001.
This magazine offers both hard copies and a digital subscription to cover old and new-school readers. Its clean, semi-minimalistic look makes it easy to read and the photography and art stand out. If you don’t like clutter detracting from your reading, this is the fly magazine for you.
“The Journal” has built up a devoted readership over the last two decades and maintains a high standard of quality. You’ll find plenty of articles on local spots, destination angling in the US and abroad, and fishing-related art writeups.
The staff, based in Bellingham, Washington, puts out a quality quarterly magazine well worth the price.
Fly Fusion Magazine
Fly Fusion Magazine is another visual stunner often employing the saturated/contrasty/slightly hazed photo motif. Founded in the early 2000s out of western Canada, Fly Fusion Magzine quickly became recognized as a quality publication.
The writers/team members of Fly Fusion are found strewn about North America, however. Even though it’s a Canada-based magazine, you’ll still get great insight and information on waters from across the continent.
Fly Fusion is published quarterly and is available both in print and online.
Tail Magazine was founded in 2012 and has built quite a credibility in the saltwater fishing game. Starting out as a digital-only publication, Tail began issuing print releases in 2016 to appeal to a broader audience.
The self-proclaimed “voice of saltwater fly fishing” has solidified its top-tier spot in the salt-fly game with continued growth, even through the pandemic. The aesthetic is clean and uncluttered and makes reading the articles, digital or print, a joy to read. The website itself offers an easy-to-navigate breakdown of topics, a blog, access to your online subscription, and even a free newsletter.
If you’re looking for saltwater fly fishing-only content, saltwater conservation topics, and even want an easy way to submit your own article, Tail Magazine is highly recommended.
Trout Magazine is the official publication of Trout Unlimited (TU). TU has long been known as the foundation of trout conservation in the United States. First published in 1959, Trout Magazine is considered part of the old guard for fishing publications.
Of course, not everyone in the trout game is a fly fisher, but they do make up a large portion of the trout fanatics.
Trout magazine and its 4 annual releases will have plenty to offer in the trout fly fishing arena, lots of conservation talk, and of course come with its own built-in community. Your membership to TU helps trout conservation efforts and the magazine itself is included.
Fly Life Magazine is another great US-based magazine. It is published quarterly and has been in print since 1995. This means Fly Life has been around long enough to carry some clout but isn’t considered part of the “old guard.”
Fly Life covers fly fishing freshwater, coastal, and bluewater regions in the US from the Gulf to the Bahamas and up the Atlantic coast. It does tackle international destinations as well.
The articles are concisely written, easy to read, and include plenty of instructional content to elevate your fly fishing and fly tying game. They also bring in a communal approach by hosting destination trips, tournaments, and area-specific conservation efforts.
Available in both print and digital formats, Fly Life is considered collectible due to its full-page, detailed magazine covers featuring amazing photography and fish-related art.
Swing the Fly
First issued in 2013, Swing the Fly Magazine is a publication dedicated solely to…yes…swinging flies. The magazine focuses heavily on skagit and scandi methods with a nod to switch rodding and other swung-fly methods here and there.
Swing the Fly is a fun read if you’re looking for information on how to swing for specific species, the latest skagit and scandi fishing tools, and info for absolute beginners who just want to get started. If you haven’t attempted spey casting yet, this is a great place to get a head start.
This magazine is released 4 times per year. It started as a digital collection of great articles and is now available as a high-quality print magazine as well. The website is also a great spot for spey info with sections on species, spey casting, conservation, fly tying, and also the River Rambler Podcast.
In the Loop
In the Loop Magazine is a relative newcomer on the scene. As of this article, only 34 issues have been released. ITL was founded in Copenhagen but its US readership has grown substantially.
Helped out by stunning photography and well-written articles, ITL aims to be an aspirational magazine that captivates the best of the sport, the travel destinations, and the best imagery to drive the reader’s passion for the sport. Take a look at any of the issued covers and you’ll understand what they’re after.
In this magazine, you’ll be hit with places like Bosnia, Pirarucu, and Seychelles all in one, travel-packed article. If that doesn’t make you want to sell your house and travel the world, nothing will.
In the Loop is a FREE online magazine, so there’s no reason not to check it out!
Fly Culture Magazine
Fly Culture Magazine was published as an “escape” from the everyday… When you were at the office or stuck at home and couldn’t be fishing, Fly Culture sought to be the go-to magazine for putting your brain “in the water” when you couldn’t physically be there.
Fly Culture Magazine’s cover features full-page, sharp, and colorful imagery uncluttered by ads or text. The articles and images have a good feel and emotion which helps the reader feel transported to the water no matter where they might be reading from.
A new issue is released quarterly and not only makes a great read, but it also looks great on the coffee table too. It is a British publication but has great articles and information pertinent to a US readership as well.
There is, without a doubt, no shortage of fly fishing publications vying for your attention. Your attention (and subscription money), however, is probably limited.
There isn’t a publication on this list that isn’t worthy of your time. Hopefully, the information in the above paragraphs will help you sort out which magazine or magazines are worth your time and attention!
Thanks for reading and leave a comment below! Let us know what your favorite fly fishing magazines are and why.