In 2006, the current owner of Mad Fish, Jeff (AKA 'The Dutch') enrolled in the MBA program at Regis University. The end product of the first classes was a full business and marketing plan. So I thought, if I could retire today, what would I want to do...?
The answer was easy! Fish in the summer and ski in the winter! - With that, Mad Fish Drift Company was born.
Over the next calendar year, I spent endless hours researching the industry demographic, existing product offerings, local regulations and insurance requirements to start a drift service company. I say drift service, because my intended target market was the experienced fly-fisherman that has all their own gear, can tie their own knots, knows the basics of fly fishing but doesn't have the money to lay out $6,000 to buy a boat.
A particularly favorite float of mine is from Pumphouse to Radium along the Colorado River, so I set my sights on that stretch of water. I pulled all my documentation together, had all my insurance in place, first aid training complete, made duplicate copies of my application package and mailed the whole thing to the Kremmling BLM field office.
One day, the phone rang. I recognized the 970 area code, picked up the phone and on the other end of the line, the BLM staff member said:
"Jeff, we received you application, everything looks good, we've never seen one this complete before, you did a great job here, but...We're going to DENY the request."
I was floored. I picked my jaw up off the floor and started to ask why, how etc.
Well, it turns out there is something called a 'special use permit' that is required to operate a business in the Colorado wilderness. These permits are shared between the shuttle services, hunting lodges, white water rafting guides and all the other commercial outfits on BLM land. There is a limited number of these permits currently in circulation and are all claimed by other companies. I thought I was sunk.
Now, after getting laid off and talking with a close friend, I have learned I have options out there. I can establish myself as a wade fishing guide and at least make a few baby steps toward the dream. Mad Fish Drift Company will take a bit of a different form for the time being, but the goal is still out there.
The current land use plans are being re-written, drafted and considered for increasing the amount of public use permits. I am in contact with the BLM office to keep apprised of the progress and will keep the site up to date on my efforts.
Thank-you for visiting my site, and hopefully you will become part of the growing story of Mad Fish