I came across an interesting pattern in my surfing travels. The fly was labeled as an Ausable Stonefly and the article claimed it was tied by Fran Betters. The text was that Fran had tied a few of these and sold them in his shop. I can't recall the fly on his website years ago nor could I find it in his pattern book. So from the not so good photo and a few materials that were thought to be what was used in the fly I tied up a couple of them. The fly I tied was close but not quite to the photo that was posted.
This is the first fly I tied using the materials they thought Fran had used. Tail and wing were woodchuck, body was orange Australian opossum, brown body hackle, grizzly hackle for the head, and orange thread. These materials were staple items on Frans tying desk and it seemed logical that they were true except for the fact that the color of the wing was much more brownish.
Well I thought I'd try the fly and see how it was received. The brookies pounced on it. Looking at the fly it is designed for rough water, almost unsinkable. It would bring big fish up in fast water.
So in my quest to get the wing color more in line with the original I searched for some woodchuck I got from Frans shop. The small patch gave me the right brownish color needed. Problem solved "Not so"...I only had enough to tie a few flies and where was I going to source more of this unique color woodchuck.
So I was in "Upcountry" and found some some Nutria..I then tied this fly and again the color was close but Nutria does not yield enough hair.
|Ausable Stimulator tied by Fran Betters....Jan Betters photo|
At this point I felt it necessary to go to a very good source one who could set things right. That source was Jan Betters. I asked her if Fran had ever tied an Ausable Stonefly. In the email I sent her a photo of the one I tied and she responded that he had tied the fly but he called it a stimulator. She said that he liked to use the fly for the large drake hatches in the Adirondaks. The fly above was tied by Fran and you can see it has all of those wonderful attributes of a Betters fly. She told me that the wing and tail material was actually rust orange dyed deer hair.
|Jan Betters photo|
Here is the fly tied with the materials she said were used. Deer was used for tail and wing but it is nor rust orange, I'm working on that.
Here are the four flies I tied using different wing materials. I don't think Fran would mind with my fumbling with his pattern. Thanks to Jan Betters for her wonderful insight.