South Long Lake, Minnesota, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Minnesota - Central -

Also known as:  Upper South Long Lake, Lower South Long Lake, Brainerd Lakes

South Long Lake near Brainerd, Minnesota in Crow Wing County offers 2,115 acres of scenic beauty with a shoreline surrounded by rolling hills covered with towering pines. Year round recreational water activities and close proximity to a wide variety of attractions make this lake a premier vacation destination.

South Long Lake is divided into two sections conveniently called Upper South Long Lake with 809 acres and Lower South Long Lake claiming 1,306 of the total area. The Nokasippi River flows from Upper South Long Lake to Lower South Long Lake, on to a smaller lake called Round Lake, and from there into the great Mississippi River. In 1936, a dam was built at the outlet of Upper South Long Lake to prevent flooding downstream from seasonal rain and snow melt in the spring.

The Dakota (Sioux) Indians inhabited the South Long Lake area until the early 1800s; the thickly wooded surroundings and abundant wildlife provided them with plentiful hunting and fishing. Many relics and burial mounds are still found today giving evidence of their villages and lifestyles. From 1890 to 1910, logging of the great forests brought some of the first settlers as towns were built to accommodate the loggers and their families. In 1930, the first lakeside resort was built using second-hand lumber and windows from discarded streetcars from Minneapolis. Over the years, more resorts were built as visitors flocked to the area to enjoy the excitement of Northwoods living.

Today, lakefront real estate is prime investment for relocation. With boating, waterskiing, jet skiing, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, swimming or just relaxing on a sandy beach, residents have 24 hour access to the many pleasures of lakefront living. With multiple public access points, visitors can delight in all that South Long Lake has to offer. Anglers test their skills to reel in walleye, northern pike, bluegill, largemouth bass, crappie, black bullhead, black crappie, bowfin, brown bullhead, common shiner, golden shiner, greater redhorse, hybrid sunfish, pumpkinseed, rock bass, white sucker, yellow bullhead, yellow perch and cisco. Fishing is popular during all four seasons, and the challenge only increases when Old Man Winter freezes the water and ice fishing season begins.

A short drive from South Long Lake is the longest Minnesota bike trail; the 110-mile Paul Bunyan Trail connects bikers and hikers to smaller trails along the way. There are 15 connecting towns along the route that offer overnight accommodations, meals, and necessities for those traveling the trail. Campsites along the way are available also. The terrain ranges from open flat stretches to hilly and scenic. Rental bicycles are available at several outfitters for those who do not bring their own bike. During the winter as the snow covers the ground, the trails double as routes for snowmobile enthusiasts.

Also nearby South Long Lake is the Crow Wing State Park which is self-described as a nature lover’s delight. History buffs can explore a historic site of a previous frontier town and the remains of an ox cart trail. While here visitors can hike, bike, boat, swim, fish, and picnic during the warm weather and cross country ski and snowmobile during the snowy days of winter. Paddlers will enjoy exploring the waters of the Crow Wing and Mississippi Rivers.

While at South Long Lake, be sure to visit Brainerd where you can choose from a variety of vacation rentals, including private homes, condominiums, chalets, and bed and breakfast inns. In town you can find information about guided horseback riding trips, sleigh rides, water parks, casinos, racetracks, downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowtubing and golf courses. If you think you just can’t see it all, think again; visitors can take a hot air balloon ride over the entire area to enjoy the beauty from a bird’s eye view.

Whether you arrive in time for the colorful fall foliage, the pristine whiteness of the freshly fallen winter snow, the rebirth of the plants and trees in the spring, or the abundance of summertime outdoor activities, it is always the right time to visit South Long Lake and Brainerd. Start planning your visit today.

Things to do at South Long Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • Casino Gambling

Fish species found at South Long Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Bullhead
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Bowfin
  • Brown Bullhead
  • Carp
  • Cisco
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Redhorse
  • Sucker
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Bullhead
  • Yellow Perch

South Long Lake Photo Gallery

South Long Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Department of Natural Resources

Surface Area: 2,115 acres

Shoreline Length: 16 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,195 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 1,193 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,196 feet

Average Depth: 13 feet

Maximum Depth: 47 feet

Water Volume: 43,096 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 1.3 years

Drainage Area: 68 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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