Viscoelastic surfactant based aqueous fluid systems are described that are useful in fracturing subterranean formations penetrated by a wellbore. The preferred thickening agents are quaternary ammonium halide salts derived from certain waxes, fats and oils. The thickening agent is used in conjunction with an inorganic water soluble salt such as ammonium chloride or potassium chloride, and an organic stabilizing additive selected from the group of organic salts such as sodium salicylate. The resulting fluids are stable to a fluid temperature of about 225.degree. F.