Times A-Changing

by Scott Sadil

Last week I received my latest issue of California Fly Fisher, the arrival of which I look forward to every other month, in part because my copy comes, in a big manila envelope, with a check held by a paper clip to the magazine’s front cover.

Turns out this is the last check, and the last copy of California Fly Fisher, I or anyone else will receive.  A back-page letter from the publisher and editor, Richard Anderson, who started the magazine thirty-one years ago, states that “the economics of magazine publishing in the internet era has made it increasingly difficult for a physical print magazine to maintain financial viability.”

Anderson has also reached the age, he says, when he’d like to do something—fishing, I assume—besides bringing the magazine “into the media environment of the twenty-first century.”

He signed the letter “Ex-Publisher and Ex-Editor.” 

The magazine’s end didn’t come as a complete surprise.  A month ago Richard sent me an email mentioning the possibility, suggesting I hold off on my regular assignment.  For a dozen years I wrote the magazine’s “At the Vise” fly-tying column, source of that check affixed to the front cover.  More important, perhaps, this is the third magazine over the past half-decade in which my work has appeared in the final issue.

Fly Rod & Reel.  American Angler.  Now California Fly Fisher.

Is it me?

Of course, I’m joking.  Sort of.  I mentioned my history of final-issue articles in a previous post (“Secret Weapons”) as a gesture toward the changing landscape in which writers now work.  Are print magazines threatened, even doomed—including the one you probably receive if you glance at these particular musings now and then?