Experimenting with new fly patterns is one of the many aspects of fly fishing that I enjoy. Our sport has endless opportunities to learn and explore the mysterious world of fish. Many years ago I started experimenting with known Atlantic salmon patterns. Two of the patterns I was quite interested in were the Frances and the Snaelda. Both produced fish. When Sean Stanton came up with the combination of these two patterns, the Franc ‘n Snaelda, I tried that pattern as well. The results were very good. I worked on improving the pattern, mostly to make the body and feelers more durable because they tended to break down from fraying on the teeth of the fish. I ended up with an epoxy body and a skirt to protect the base of the feelers. Four colour variations were commercially produced for me; “Babine”, “Skeena”, “Kispiox” and Bulkley”.

Fig 1: The original four SRFS Franc ‘n Snaelda patterns.

A few years ago a came up with two new colour variations. The first one, “Crustacean”, a fluorescent orange body with a salmon pink tail and fluorescent orange feelers.

Fig 2: My early FnS “Crustacean” prototypes. 

 

Fig 3: The final commercial version of the FnS “Crustacean”.

This colour is very effective for fresh fish in rivers that are slightly turbid with glacial sediment. I’ve found the same to be true with Chinook salmon. The last two seasons of testing have shown this to be a very effective pattern.

 

Fig 4+5: A couple of fish caught on the FnS “Crustacean”

The other new colour variation is the “Iron Maiden”. I wanted a Franc ‘n Snaelda for late season, clear, low water conditions. Something that would blend in and not be too intrusive.

Fig 6: My prototype of the FnS “Iron Maiden”

I have always liked the looks of the “Ice Maiden”, an Atlantic salmon pattern. It’s a subtle, pale coloured pattern, thus the “Maiden” part of the name. My “Iron Maiden” pattern uses a SnowRunner tail in a “steel” colour, white feelers, a skirt of badger fur, white with silver epoxy body, white badger hackle and a “blushing maiden pink” cone head. In the water the cone head is the only thing that stands out. The rest of the fly blends in quite nice in clear water conditions.

Fig 7: A late season small hen caught in very difficult clear water conditions on a FnS “Iron Maiden”

All our Franc ‘n Snaelda patterns we produce are available in an aluminum and brass version. I like to cast the fly straight across stream, or slightly upstream, then high stick the rod and allow the fly to sink. Then let it swing into shore. When it slows down twitch the pattern or strip it. Strikes tend to be very aggressive.

Step by step instructions on how to tie the Franc ‘n Snaelda with epoxy body and skirt can be found in some of my previous articles here.

Material lists:

FNS “Crustacean”
Ultimate Feelers – crustacean orange
1.8mm plastic tube – pink
tube – Integrated Shrimp Tube (brass) or Shrimp Tube (aluminum)
junction tube – orange
tail – snowrunner – salmon
flash – accent flash – pearl
body – thread – fluorescent orange with gold glitter + epoxy
hackle – badger rooster neck feather – orange
cone head – stout – silver

“Iron Maiden”
Ultimate Feelers – white
1.8mm plastic tube – pink
tube – Shrimp Tube brass or aluminum
junction tubing – clear
tail – snowrunner – “steel”
skirt – badger fur – natural
flash – accent flash – pearl
body – thread – white, with silver glitter + epoxy
hackle – badger rooster neck feather – white
cone head – stout – pink

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