History Behind Jim's Caviar Camp

In 1958, Jim Chandler of Waverly, Iowa went on his annual fishing trip with his father and a couple of friends to the Nestor Falls area.


Their guide took them on a series of portages to fish the area lakes. Among them was Caviar Lake, formerly called Sturgeon Lake. Because of the good times and good fishing, these visits happened often.

While fishing these lakes, Jim recalled always passing a small camp off to the side of the main trail. He would continue to think about this remote, picturesque camp in the years that followed.

Given his love of the outdoors, Jim finally realized his dream in his 30s – to own a fishing camp. He looked at camps in the area and even further north but kept coming back to Caviar Lake because of the clarity of water. He also liked it because a person could only get there by boat. That was what he believed a real fishing camp should be.

Firm in his resolve to pursue his dream, he borrowed $20,000 from his parents, who had to mortgage their home to do so. When he started, Jim didn’t know how to make a pot of coffee much less run a camp. From the start though, he always operated his camp with the belief of treating people the way you would like to be treated.

In 1961, Jim married Irene Paypompee, a local native. They had three sons – Bruce, Brad, and Doug – who all helped bring the camp to where it is today.

Jim had a passion for life, family, and nature. He believed the way to a person’s heart was through their stomach thus his love for gardening and Irene’s home cooking. He had a knack for story telling that filled a room with laughter. Jim had a compassion for others and looked forward to seeing old friends year after year. His proudest moments were serving others who, like him, wanted nothing more than “one last trip to Caviar Camp.”

Jim (2004) and Irene (2008) passed away. The family assumed the operations of the camp and continues Jim’s legacy of treating guests as you would like to be treated and continuing the tradition of creating memories that last a lifetime.