Au Sable River Scene
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Michigan Hillbilly Nymph
An 'Old Time' Au Sable River Fly
By: Jerry Kunnath
Jerry Kunnath with an 'opening day'
walleye caught on a Michigan Hillbilly
nymph on the Au Sable River
'Michigan Hillbilly Nymph'
One of the 'old time' flies of the Au Sable River
By: Jerry Kunnath

Opening day of trout season 2004 found me and my friend Sam Kim on the 'Trophy Waters' of the Au Sable
River. The water was pretty high and quite murky. The air was just about frigid with a mean wind trying to
blow my hat off my head. Not what you would call perfect fly fishing weather, but then what is. We fished all
day with nary a bite or even a credible rise. Late in the day I switched over to a nymph that had been a
producer for me many times in the past. The 'Michigan Hillbilly Nymph'. This fly is one of those old time flies
that have been around for more years that most can remember. It is rumored to have been named in one of
the old fly fishing lodges that were located on the North Branch of the Au Sable. Seems that a group of guys
just named it kiddingly after one of their fishing buddies.

I tied it on my line and after only about three drifts through one of my favorite holes I connected with a nice
fish that turned out to be a walleye. My friend Sam Kim came over and took the picture that is located
above. All in all it was a great day on the water shared between two friends. That is about as good as it gets.

Recipe for the 'Michigan Hillbilly Nymph'
Hook - Tiemco #105 [egg fly hook] size 4 for a bigger nymph, size 8 for a smaller nymph
Thread- black 6/0 uni-thread
Tail- grey squirrel hair [tail fibers]
Egg Sack- peacock hurl, about three to four thicker strands
Body- red chenille, and make it thick
Wing- woodchuck tail fibers [both fine and course]
Hackle- brown or black, stiff hackle [soft hackle if you want it more buggy]

I like to tie in the tail so that it points down the bend of the hook a little. I also prefer to include both course
and fine woodchuck tail fibers in the wing. I think that it makes the nymph look more ‘buggy’, which is, in my
opinion, always better for catching fish. Build up a bit of a head with the thread also as you finish the fly,
then dab the head with a bit of cement to solidify. And remember; fish it right near the bottom, rolling along
naturally in the current. And don’t ask me what it is supposed to resemble. All I know is that it catches fish….
trout, smallmouth, carp, darn near whatever is swimming near it. And if you see Sam, thank him for taking
that picture of me with my walleye. What a pal.
Michigan Hillbilly Nymph
Author-Jerry Kunnath with walleye caught on Michigan Hillbilly Nymph
Au Sable Walleye caught by Jerry Kunnath on Michigan Hillbilly Nymph
A close-up of the walleye I caught
on the Michigan HillBilly Nymph

This & the above pictures by Sam Kim