South Center Lake is a deep, medium-sized lake. It is part of a chain of lakes in southern Chisago County and is directly connected to North Center Lake through a navigable channel. The lake has several deep holes with very sharp breaks but is also characterized by large shallow flats with abundant aquatic vegetation. Land use in the watershed is dominated by agriculture, and the shoreline is heavily developed as residential properties. South Center is a popular recreational lake with high summer boat traffic and high fishing pressure throughout the year.
The lake suffers from a heavy infestation of Curly-leaf Pondweed, which may contribute to reduced summer water clarity. Curly-leaf Pondweed in South Center grows abundantly in spring then senesces in July, followed by an algae bloom that limits summer growth of native submersed aquatic plants. Emergent and floating leaved vegetation in South Center are mostly limited to areas of undeveloped shoreline in shallow bays.
The fish community in South Center is dominated by Centrachids (Bluegill, Black Crappie, and Largemouth Bass), Walleye, and Northern Pike. Walleye are maintained through fingerling stocking in the fall. Summer and winter angling pressure are both high (this lake receives average annual pressure of 114 angler-hours/acre) and Black Crappie and Bluegill are the most commonly targeted and harvested species.
South Center Lake was selected as a Sentinel Lake because it is a deep lake with a large littoral area and has experienced high-levels of development along its shoreline.