Photo of Cinko Lake, Mono County, CA

Cinko Lake Fishing

Hoover Wilderness - Mono County

Photo of Cinko Lake, Hoover Wilderness, CA

Cinko Lake

Cinko Lake is a beautiful fishing destination deep in the Hoover Wilderness. Plan your outing as a multi-day backpacking trip with stops along the way to fish a variety of interesting waters such as Fremont Lake and Chain of Lakes. Cinko Lake is the kind of place where you can set up a comfortable camp near the water's edge. Fish part of the time and relax in camp the rest of your day.

The lake is at 9,200 feet and 14 miles from the trailhead in Leavitt Meadow. Experienced backpackers usually make the trip in two days, allowing plenty of recreation time along the way. The trip is best done from mid-summer to late fall. For those who would like to lighten their burden on the way to the lake, Leavitt Meadow Pack Station can help you out. (Read more below.)

In My Creel

  • #14 Gray Quill
  • #16 barbless Adams
  • #12 barbless Blue Wing Olive
  • #16 Black Gnat
  • Panther Martin
  • Mepps Lightin'
  • Thomas Buoyant

Fishing little Chain of Lakes along the way is a great place to test out your flies. Once at Cinko Lake you may want to switch over to spin casting to try your luck in the deeper waters.

Following the Trail to Cinko Lake


The Leavitt Meadow trailhead is located on the east side of Sonora Pass immediately off Highway 108. A backpackers' parking lot is situated next to the Leavitt Meadow Campground. Restrooms and a self-serve wilderness permit kiosk are found at the parking lot. There is no limit for overnight hikers out of Leavitt Meadow, so there is no need to make a wilderness permit reservation. The Hoover Wilderness requires that backpackers carry bear canisters.

Follow the trail up Leavitt Meadow past Roosevelt and Lanes Lakes (also good camping spots). After 7 miles turn onto the Fremont Lake trail, crossing the West Walker River, and climbing a steep grade to the lake. Fremont Lake is a superb fishing destination. Only a mile beyond Fremont Lake are the Chain of Lakes, worth fishing along the way. A mile farther pass Lower and Upper Long Lakes, also fun places to spend a few hours.

Photo of Cahin of Lakes, Mono County, CA

Chain of Lakes

After Long Lakes, continue up the trail to the southwest, following the West Fork of the West Walker River in the direction of Emigrant Pass. Only two miles up the trail (well before the pass), turn south onto the Cinko Lake trail. The lake appears within a half mile.


Good campsites are found along the ridge on the west side of the lake, but even nicer sites are among the trees on the eastern shore. Be sure your camp is at least 100 feet from the water.

Fishing Supplies

On your way to the Leavitt Meadow trailhead, you can pick up fishing supplies at the following places:

Recommended Books and Maps for Fishing the Hoover Wilderness

Photo of Leavitt Meadows Pack Station

Leavitt Meadows Pack Station

Pack Stations

Photo of Fremont Lake, Hoover Wilderness, CA

Fremont Lake

For adventures in the Hoover Wilderness, consider having yourself packed into a base camp by a local packer. Leavitt Meadow Pack Station is located along Highway 108 in Leavitt Meadow. You can arrange to have them pack your gear into a recommended base camp while you make the trek on foot or you can make the journey on horseback along with the packer.


Other Featured Trips in Mono County

  • Fremont Lake - Excellent fishing for big trout. Easy day trips to Chain of Lakes and Long Lakes.
  • Green Lake - Find Green Lake and several others only a short hike out from the trailhead near Bridgeport.
  • Cooney Lake - One of several lakes near Virginia Lakes
  • Spuller Lake - a High Sierra lake near Yosemite
  • Fern Lake - hike out of June Lake to a scenic alpine lake

High Sierra Trails

A Backpacker's Guide to the
Most Spectacular Trails
in the Sierra Nevada