León’s Rooster – Old World Versatility

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

Tucked away in the foothills of the Cantabrian Mountains in northern Spain is the provincial town of León, Spain. Not large by any standard, at approximately 130,000 people, Leon isn’t on many radars outside of Spain. However, for the fly tier, the Leon region is the origin of one of fly tying’s most ancient and versatile materials—the Coq de Leon hackle.

Gallos de Leon as they are called in Spanish (why the French spelling–Coq de Leon– is preferred outside Spain is unknown) are reared in the Curueño Valley along the Curueño river. The villages of La Candana de Curueño and La Vecilla are the origin of this rare breed.

The feathers of the ‘gallos’ (cockerels / roosters) have been famous for their fly tying qualities for centuries and references can be found in the earliest of fly fishing books.

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