Southwest Fly Fishing Magazine
Contributor’s Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in Southwest Fly Fishing magazine. To receive consideration for publication you must read and follow these guidelines. By contributing to Southwest Fly Fishing magazine, writers, photographers, and illustrators agree to the terms and conditions set forth in these guidelines, including the usage rights we purchase with acceptance of material for publication (text and/or imagery, including photography and artwork) as delineated herein.

Southwest Fly Fishing magazine is a destination-specific publication to be viewed as an inspiring, collectible reference of angling destinations in the Southwest. The staff at Southwest Fly Fishing takes pride in our editorial content. Our writing is refreshing; our photography, captivating. Southwest Fly Fishing is issued on a quarterly schedule. The area of coverage for Southwest Fly Fishing includes the southern half of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Utah; occasionally we cover destinations in Mexico and in southern Wyoming.

Southwest Fly Fishing has set high standards for all images used in our magazine. To receive consideration for Southwest Fly Fishing, articles must be accompanied by stunning, diverse, professional-level photography. We buy text/photo packages, so writers who team up with photographers to produce stories must determine for themselves how to share payment. Please see “Photography Submission Guidelines” below.


  1. Know what we want. The best way to get a feel for what we publish is to study our magazines.
  2. Read these Guidelines thoroughly.
  3. Check our “editorial index” at This index provides a state-by-state list of waters we have previously covered. Generally we want at least 5 years to pass before we re-cover a particular fishery; waters covered as “Notes” pieces (400- to 600-word short articles) can receive consideration for feature-article coverage in less than 5 years (on the editorial index, “Notes” pieces are discernible from features by their low page numbers).
  4. Note that we discourage unsolicited submissions. Please follow protocol by querying us on your idea first.
  5. No submission is considered an assignment until you have received from us an official Assignment Confirmation email.
  6. Do not send us simultaneous queries or submissions—do not send queries or submissions to other magazines if you are sending them to us.

Our goal is to give an inspiring and complete report on specific angling destinations. Angling destinations include both the famous and the lesser-known waters, and include all species found in our diverse geographical region. If more than one species is found in any given water, writers should cover each species, as well as every season that water is fishable. In short, feature articles should be concise, and leave no holes. Our goal is to cover specific angling destinations as no other publication has done in the past.

Feature Article Requirements
Provide practical traveling and angling information to specific destinations, including personal anecdotes.
Include pertinent angling history and a thorough description of the fishery.
Description of angling techniques, tackle, and flies, and local perspectives.
Articles should be thorough and specific so as to sufficiently inform and give the angler confidence to effectively fish the presented water
Conservation issues and future considerations should be addressed
Feature article submissions require excellent and varied photography (see photography requirements below)
Feature article submissions require a detailed map of the area for our artist to reference and on this map, the author must mark all significant features mentioned in the article and which should be included on the artist’s map that will appear in the magazine.
Feature article submissions require two “featured flies” and these should be local patterns popular for the fishery. Include the dressings (materials list) with the article document and send two examples of each of the flies for us to photograph. (please no Woolly Buggers, Stimulators, or other common flies)
Feature article length ranges from 2,500 to 3,000 words and specific word-count range will be made upon assignment.

Some department material is staff-written. Exceptions are as follows:

In the Vise
This department covers patterns of national or regional significance. New, unusual, and exciting patterns are encouraged, but we will also represent the time-proven standards. Flies for any species can be considered. These 500-word articles should include a little history and use of the fly, as well as step-by-step photos (6) of the tying sequence, expertly shot against a neutral-colored background. These six step-by-step photos must EXACTLY MATCH the six accompanying written steps. Two finished flies should accompany the article for photographic purposes, including the one used for the step-by-step photography. If you are not equipped for, and experienced in, close-up step-by-step fly tying photography, we prefer to shoot the step-by-step photos (arrangements for this can be discussed in the query process).

Around the Southwest
Our “Around the Southwest” pieces are short destination-specific articles (400 to 600 words) that report on a specific fishery. As with all material submitted, query first after checking our editorial index. (“Reviews” are staff written).

Conservation (almost always staff written)
Our Conservation department covers any conservation issue pertinent to the coverage area of Southwest Fly Fishing. Maximum length, 750 words; requires a selection of accompanying images.

Photo essay of 12 outstanding images depicting Southwest angling; all images must be tied together by a proposed theme. We like to see plenty to choose from (at least 30 to 60 images with lots of variety). We do not assign Exposure without first seeing the images, and all submissions are subject to final approval by our art director; in the event that the art director rejects a submission previously accepted by the editorial department, the photographer will receive a kill fee of 50 percent of the pay rate for the department.

Southwest Fly Fishing magazine demands excellent photography for all submissions. We have a strong preference for unedited RAW-format images. Please study our magazines to understand the kind of photography we publish. All of our regular contributors use SLR cameras, not point-and-shoots; potential contributors who make a serious commitment to excellent photography stand a much better chance of having work accepted for Southwest Fly Fishing.

We accept digital files from SLR cameras with a minimum of 6-megapixels, 8-megapixel or higher are preferred! Note: A 35-megabyte file is needed for full-page offset printing.
We do not accept slides and larger transparencies without prior approval from the editor.
When making a submission please include 2 images per image file, the unedited RAW file and a processed JPEG. Submissions should be sent on CD or DVD, or upon approval from the editor, uploaded to our ftp site. Discs will not be returned.
Include a color contact sheet, with file names of your images if possible.
If the RAW file or contact sheet is not included, the submission will automatically be rejected, unless other arrangements have been made with the editorial department. If only jpegs are available, please make sure they are of the maximum image quality available on your camera.
Please do not submit images that are out of focus or overexposed.


For all proposed submissions, initial contact with the editor by e-mail is preferred. A formal query letter, outlining the proposed article, should be sent to the editor before making a submission. We discourage unsolicited material. For new contributors, a sample selection of images MUST accompany the formal query. Please note that we DO NOT return disks, thumb drives, flies, maps, or contact sheets except in special circumstances with prior arrangement.

Southwest Fly Fishing is not responsible for submissions in transit to and from our editorial office. USE A TRACKING SYSTEM: we prefer U.S. First Class Priority Mail with “Delivery Confirmation.”

Text and photos are purchased as a package. Manuscripts accepted without the appropriate photographic support will warrant less money for their use. We reserve the option to edit all articles; however, we will make every effort to minimize editing to avoid changing the style or content of manuscripts. We encourage excellent writers to team up with excellent photographers, but in doing so, we pay for the package and it is up to the contributors to determine how to split the payment between photographer and writer.

All manuscripts should be submitted via email to the editor in Microsoft Word if possible (saved as .doc or .rtf files). Do not format manuscripts—type them and leave them in your default font/format. Digital images should be sent on CD or DVD.

Payment is made approximately two weeks prior to publication, and the pay rate varies with the length and completeness of the submission. Inclusion of high-quality images has a major impact in determining the pay rate for any given article. Our pay rate is as follows:

Feature Articles: $300 to $500 (depending on completeness of submission)
Short Feature Articles: $300 (special features assigned at 2,000-word length)
In the Vise: $200               
Around the Southwest: $75 to $200
Conservation: $150

Photo and artwork submissions and payments: Southwest Fly Fishing usually buys text and photos as a package. There are exceptions, however, and additional photography may be purchased on occasion. Contributors must query first. Payment varies for size used and impact. Our pay rate is as follows:

            Cover $500
            Back Cover $100
            Exposure $500/$250 kill fee
            Inside use $25 to $300
            Illustrations and artwork $50 to $300 (usually staff produced)

Kill fees: On rare occasions we must “kill” an article (not print it) for various reasons completely at our discretion. Should this occur, the author will be paid 50% of the usual article pay rate.

Scheduling: We reserve the right to re-schedule any and all submissions. Often we need to reschedule assigned materials for any numbers of reasons, though we make every effort to run assigned submissions as scheduled. We reserve the right to cancel any assignments.

Rights: Southwest Fly Fishing buys first-time serial rights to all materials. These rights include:
First-time publishing rights for both printed and digital editions, including digital reprint in American Fly Fishing.
Rights to using the material, all or in part, for the magazine’s social media sites (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
Rights to use the material, all or in part, for direct mail promotional pieces, newsletters, editorial calendar announcements to contributors and advertisers
Rights to use the material for digital edition archives available as downloads to active subscribers or paid customers, either by issue or by article.
Rights to use the material for article reprints posted on our website for linking from an outside website.

Reprints: Southwest Fly Fishing does not give permission for any of its articles, printed or digital, to be replicated on any website or in print. If you wish to have one of our articles at your site, please put a link in your site to the appropriate Southwest Fly Fishing page at rather than upload the article to your site. That way the people accessing your site will have access to the most up-to-date information that appears on our website, as well as links to related articles at this site that have been embedded in the articles. Articles appearing in printed or digital editions of Southwest Fly Fishing that are not yet linkable on our website will be considered by special request at the publisher’s discretion. If approved, the article will be posted as part of our regularly scheduled updates, at which time it will become available for linking on our website. If you have any questions, please contact Steve Cole at (206) 667-9359, or send an e-mail to

Send all queries/manuscripts/images to:

John Shewey, Editor-in-Chief
Southwest Fly Fishing
P.O. Box 12275
Salem, OR 97309


A Note to Contributors
Text and photos are purchased as a package. Manuscripts accepted without the appropriate photographic support will warrant less money for their use. If we feel the need to purchase photography from an outside source to enhance the article, payment for the package will reflect this, as per our Writer/Photographer Guidelines ( Northwest Fly Fishing, Southwest Fly Fishing, and Eastern Fly Fishing magazines buy first North American serial publication rights for both a printed and digital version of the magazine, which could appear on our Web site, and these rights include later digital reprint in American Fly Fishing. We reserve the option to edit all articles.