DescriptionSouth Lake is one of two small, shallow lakes in the Lac La Croix drainage basin, 11 miles ENE of Crane Lake and 34½ miles northwest of Ely. To the US Geological Survey (USGS), South is paired with North Lake as the southeastern portion of two lakes closely connected by a broad, shallow channel. To the Minnesota DNR, this is a single body of water, North Lake. The name South Lake belongs to the smaller, and very separate body of water to the south of North, the little lake that the USGS chooses to call Section Pond. Because the USGS is the source for both the recreational map makers and the US Forest Service, it is the USGS nomenclature that is most often seen on maps, though the DNR position may be the more logical.
The lake is situated among high hills rising 200' and more above the water's surface, perhaps most strikingly observed at the east end of the lake. The 99 acres which make up the combined northern and southern portions of the lake are supplied by several intermittent and unnamed seepages as well as by Section 3 Creek, which drops some 40' in its quarter mile course down to North/South. A 72 rod carry to the south of the creek provides portage access to Section Pond. Out of the south end of the lake a 120 rod portage climbs steadily upward, gaining some 170' of elevation in the first 100 rods before dropping back 29' into Steep.The forests which ring South Lake date from the big stand replacing fire of 1864, which burned much of the area just to the south of Lac La Croix.
CampsitesSouth supports one established campsite, on its eastern shore, with two more just through the channel into North.
Planning ConsiderationsSouth sits astride two routes. It is a link in the Little Loon/North route, the north/south chain of interior lakes running parallel to, but just east of the much larger lakes of the Border Route, from Little Loon, to Slim, to Section 3 Pond, to South Lake, to North Lake. It is also a part of the Snow Bay/Pocket Creek route, the arc of which drops south and east out of Snow Bay on Lac La Croix through a string of lakes (North/South, Steep, Eugene, Little Beartrack, Beartrack, and Thumb) before turning northeast at Finger to Pocket, returning to Lac La Croix at the mouth of Pocket Creek.
South Lake is included in Beymer, The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, vol. 1, The Western Region, routes 5, 11, 14, 15, 16, and 19.
WildlifeSouth Lake supports populations of Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus), Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Pumpkinseed Sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus), Rock Bass (Ambloplites rupestris), Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni), and Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens).
Notes and Comments
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