Lake of the Week: South Long Lake
South Long Lake located about seven miles southeast of Brainerd. South Long has tremendous fishing for all species. Due to the lack of proximity to Brainerd, it can fly under the radar but make sure to put it on yours. Little pressure and quality fish will make it worth your time to go there!
The best fishing for bluegills and crappies occurs in the early spring or winter. During the early spring look to the emergent vegetation located in the southern half of the lake. Flu-flu jigs and a minnow will temp crappies in the early spring as will puddle jumpers. Sunfish can be caught using a plain hook with a piece of night crawler of panfish leech. The island located north of the landing is a prime place to begin your search for panfish.
Healthy populations of both Bass and Northern exist on South Long Lake. For Bass use jig and plastic or crankbaits.When using a jig and plastic, pitch it into the weeds and work it back in 10-14 feet of water. When casting cranks, make your casts parallel to the weeds; X-raps, Salmo or Berkley flicker shads are all good choices. DNR surveys show that there are good numbers of 15-plus inch largemouth in South Long Lake. For Northerns you can work these same weed edges with a live bait rig tipped with a sucker minnow or pitch a Northland Weed Weasel to the weed edge tipped with a minnow.
DNR surveys show a healthy population of walleye in South Long and it is routinely stocked as well. Early in the spring a jig and shiner or fathead will do the trick or a live bait rig tipped with shiner will work. As the fish transition to typical summer locales a live bait rig tipped with a Redtail or Creek chub will be what you want to use.The deeper structure located Northwest of the Island are places to begin your search for walleye.
A public access is located on the southwest shore and can readily accommodate all sizes of boats. South Long is a bit out of the way from the typical “Brainerd Lakes” but it is well worth the drive.
LAKE OF THE WEEK provided by Leisure Outdoor Adventures (www.leisureoutdooradventures.com or 855-LOA-HOOK).