Ice Jam Flooding on The Roaring Fork River

I’ve been fly fishing here in Colorado for years and I’ve got to be honest– I’ve never given ice jam flooding a second thought. That’s on me. After watching the speed and intensity of the ice flooding on the Roaring Fork over the weekend, it’s something that should be on all of our radar’s moving forward.

Ice Flow on Roaring Fork River on January 4, 2019. Video by Ben de Sugny

2:01pm MST – As we predicted, the ice flow roared through Basalt this afternoon. While we unfortunately arrived 12 minutes after the flow, our friend Ben de Sugny captured this exceptional video from the 7-11 Bridge in Basalt, Colorado.

Posted by Roaring Fork Conservancy on Friday, January 4, 2019
courtesy of Roaring Fork Conservancy

Ice jams happen when warm temperatures cause a frozen river’s snow and ice to melt too rapidly, which then results in flash flooding down river.

If you’re going out fly fishing on any of Colorado’s rivers this winter, know your settings and be mindful of the environmental conditions around you. And I’m not saying that to be a fear-monger– admittedly, I’ve never put any thought into any type of winter flash flooding. But as we see here, fluctuating temperatures can cause weird things to happen.