Made it to Pine Creek last weekend and ended up camping at Honeymoon lake (Royce Pass is center)with one to two other people camped there but not crowded.
The slog up the hill wasn't nearly as bad as expected, and as soon as you made the first ridge the scenery was beautiful.
Soon after the ridge, Pine Lake and Upper pine lake where beautiful and loaded with 8 to 10 inch brooks and rainbows.
We decided to stay at Honeymoon Lake and do day hikes to both Royce Lakes Basin (with fishing rod) and French Lake (below) since I was excited to visit and fish both.
The fishing was very good at honeymoon and Upper Pine lake for 8 - 10 inch fish, but I was looking for bigger fish. We headed up and over Royce pass the first day with the XC route being pretty simple and straight forward from Honeymoon. We spent all day fishing 2nd, 3rd and 4th lakes with a few bites, but no fish. Between the 5 of us, no lure or fly was unused, and no part of these lakes went unfished. We moped back to camp before dark with hopes that french lake would be better. The next morning we headed off to Pine Creek pass and french lake.
Looking north at the pass.
Looking south to French Canyon with French lake to the left and Royce Basin to the right.
At French lake we found the fishing good with slightly bigger fish, but no legendary goldens. We finished the day with close to 40 fish with on large one (approx. 15") getting off right at shore. Lots of smaller guys on the fly with slightly larger ones on drop shot worms and larger spinners in gold. The largest came on a large black and yellow Panther martin. After circling French Lake we headed up to Steelhead Lake for a 8- 11" fish fest. Lots of smaller fish on anything. Again, not what we were hoping for, but still fun. We headed back out on day four fishing the Pine Lakes as we went
and then down the never ending switch backs to the trail head.
To be honest, I really liked the area while the climb was tough, it didn't seem any worse than other trail heads. Just make sure you start early since the climb is not shaded. The hikes to French Lake and Royce Lakes was some of the most scenic areas Ive been to, and the fact that they were easy XC without any one else there was a bonus.
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Nice TR report. I always go over Piute Pass then over to French Canyon because I don't like that mining road. With that being said I think you are right if you start early enough when its cool, it shouldn't be a problem. I am surprised they weren't biting at Royce. Thanks again for posting.
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