James Alfred Schoettle was born on
February 9, 1932, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. With Jim’s father
dying when he was about five years old, the difficult task of
providing for her seven children fell to Jim’s mother. Times
were so tough, Jim’s mother would often send her boys out
hunting for their dinner. Gordy Roholt, who (along with his
father) ran a store across the street from the Schoettle’s home,
took the Schoettle children under his wing and ended up giving
most of them jobs.
especially took a liking to Jim, who was a very hard worker. Jim
was in high school when Gordy began taking him up to Callahan
Lake to go muskie fishing. It wasn’t long before Jim wanted to
go to the Chippewa Flowage, which he had heard so much about. It
was around 1949 when Gordy first brought Jim to the Flowage,
renting a cedar strip boat from Indian Trail. Jim immediately
fell in love with this special place and soon became addicted to
muskie fishing. In fact, he wouldn’t go after anything else.
After Jim graduated in 1950, he
enlisted in the Coast Guard, starting out as a gunner’s mate and
later becoming a gun fire control technician, working with the
radar and computers that controlled the ship’s gunfire. Jim, who
served as a first class petty officer, loved the sea. One time,
while most everyone else was seasick, it fell upon Jim to bring
in to port the 83 foot patrol boat that he was serving on. Jim
also served on a 327 foot, secretary class gunship named the
"Gresham," based out of Alameda, California. That ship patrolled
the coast for submarines and went out on weather patrol.
After Jim served 3 years active duty
in the Guard, he got a job in the computer division at the
Uniroyal Tire plant in Eau Claire. During his vacation, Jim
would be up at Indian Trail… muskie fishing as often as
possible. Two sisters, Elsie and Grace Hornewer, ran the place
then, and Jim lent them a helping hand whenever he could. Jim
and Elsie grew to become very close friends.
Grace wanted out of the resort so she sold her interest in the
place to Ray & Evelyn Hornewer. That didn’t pan out, so after
the season, Grace ended up getting the resort back. For some
reason she didn’t want to sell her half of the resort to Elsie,
so she "gave" it to Jim, telling him that he could pay her when
he could afford it. Knowing how much Elsie loved the place, Jim
was hesitant to take the resort under those circumstances; but
Elsie said, "No, you take it. I couldn’t have a better partner."
So from 1959 thru 1962, Elsie and Jim ran Indian Trail together.
Keeping his full time job at Uniroyal
in Eau Claire, Jim commuted to the resort on weekends and
whenever his plant would go on strike. He fished whenever he
could, but it wasn’t nearly as often as he wished. Because the
hectic pace eventually got to Jim and literally gave him ulcers,
he and Elsie sold to Howie and Wanda Hornewer in 1963, agreeing
to stay on to help during that first year.
Having a bit more time to fish, Jim
caught 7 muskies that season, with his biggest one weighing in
at 23 pounds. Actually, it weighed a bit less than that. Jim’s
girl friend, Jeanne, who also worked at the resort, had caught a
nice 22 pound muskie while fishing with Leo Petrouske that
August. Two weeks later, Jim caught a muskie which he knew was
close to the same size. Not wanting to be outdone by a woman,
Jim secretly filled his muskie with water before he weighed it,
beating Jeanne’s fish by one pound.
In 1964, Jim put in a mobile home at
Mooney’s Indian Post Resort, fishing out of there for another 6
or 7 years. Between 1959 and thru 1969, Jim caught 41 muskies
out of Indian Trail and Indian Post. Jim Schoettle was known to
do some guiding on occasion, and the suick was his favorite
lure. Some years later, Jim moved to Cerro Gordo, Illinois, but
there always remained a soft spot in his heart for the serenity
of the Chippewa Flowage and the memories of his years at Indian
On July 5, 2002, Jim Schoettle passed
away at the age of 70 after a bout with cancer.