Babe Winkelman

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Babe Winkelman
BornApril 24, 1949
ResidenceBrainerd, Minnesota
Known forTelevision Producer, Host of Good Fishing and Outdoor Secrets television shows
Home townDuelm, Minnesota
ChildrenAmanda; Jasmine; Donielle; Mackenzie; Karlee

Babe Winkelman (born 1949) is an American sportsman and television producer, known for television programs about hunting and fishing. His program Good Fishing was first syndicated internationally in the mid-1980s.[1] As of 2017, Winkelman produces an additional program, Outdoor Secrets, which with Good Fishing, airs in the United States and internationally on channels such as CBS Sports, American Hero Channel, and Destination America. His programs are also available globally on 25,000 hyper-local websites across the US and Roku, Apple TV, Opera TV, Amazon Fire and Netflix.[2]

Early life[edit]

Babe Winkelman (nicknamed by his father after baseball giant Babe Ruth) grew up on a dairy farm near the small town of Duelm, Minnesota. He started fishing at age 6 on Stoney Brook, a stream that ran through the family farm. It was there that he started to understand how fish moved around through the seasons and there that his "Pattern Approach" to fishing got its roots.[3] Pheasants were abundant on the farm as well and his hunting career started there with his first pheasant kill at age 8. Deer hunting started as a driver at age 10 and he shot his first buck at age 12.

Through endless hours of hunting and fishing, Babe polished his skills. During the 1960s, Babe spent a lot of time at the family cabin on Hay Lake near Longville, where he refined his "pattern" approach to fishing that he continues to teach others today.[3] He started working construction after graduating 8th grade and continued learning carpentry throughout high school. He learned from his father, who was a carpentry master. Less than two months after graduating high school, he became the youngest person in the history of Minnesota to get his journeyman's Union card. Babe spent his nights playing lead guitar and singing in bands. In May 1969 he started Winkelman Building Corporation Inc., a construction company, along with his brother Dennis and Father Don.[4] In February 1970 Johnny Winters called him 3 times for him to go on world tour as lead guitarist for his band. He decided he couldn't leave his dad and the construction business, and his music career became a hobby he still practices to this day.[5] By the time Babe was 25, the company had grown into 6 corporations with nearly 200 employees. Babe decided his interests were elsewhere, and he embarked on a full-time career in the outdoors.

Outdoor Life[edit]

He started guiding fisherman in 1965 and started fishing tournaments in 1970.[5] In 1973 he helped found the Minnesota State Bass Federation to get bass tournaments started and served as president for nearly 3 years. 1973 was also the year Babe started writing for outdoor publications and gave his first seminar to teach fishing. Babe started in the outdoors full-time in 1975, where he guided, fished tournaments, taught at seminars, and did promotional work for Lindy/Little Joe Tackle. He became a field editor for Fishing Facts magazine, writing for them and a host of other publications.

In the last four decades Babe has written many articles and has guest hosted hundreds of radio shows and podcast episodes. In 1978, he was hired by SC Johnson to introduce a new product to America, "Deep Woods OFF." The commercial was Babe, "as a professional fisherman", needing a stronger insect repellent because of his outdoor endeavors. Good Fishing (Babe's fishing television series), first hit the airwaves in 1980.[6] This prompted him to start Babe Winkelman Productions Inc. and set up his own studio. For nearly 40 years he has owned the trademark,"Teaching America to Fish."[7] The show was educational and involved his whole family. The show kept growing in size and covered the U.S. and Canada. During the '80s Babe authored a series of "how to" books on fishing, was the only person to use audio tapes to teach fishing, was the first to develop videos that taught fishing starting in 1984, and went on to produce nearly 100 different titles in the next decade.


The Saturday Evening Post ran a feature on Babe in 1987. He was also featured in People Magazine in 1988, Midwest Living around 1990, and thousands of other newspaper and magazine articles, radio and TV appearances.[8] Excerpts of Good Fishing appeared 3 times on Married with Children and about a dozen different movies. Babe was also a guest on the Donnie & Marie Osmond show.[3] 1988 was also the year Babe aired his second television series, Outdoor Secrets (hunting series), which was the first hunting show on the air since 1978. Winkelman spoke at a presidential rally for President George W. Bush in 2004.


In 1988 Babe was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.[9] A few years later, he was inducted into the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame.[10] In 1992 he was inducted into the Sports Legends Hall of Fame (which is Global Hall of Fame) alongside of Evander Holyfield for boxing, Pete Rose for Baseball from the US and 30 other athletes from around the world. Babe is the only outdoorsman ever to be inducted into this hall of fame. In 2015 into the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame. In 2007 he was given the Excellence in Craft award by the Outdoor Writers association of America(OWAA), their most prestigious award for his work with television. Babe Winkelman's production company has won a couple hundred awards for production excellence, including 87 in a two-year span. This included the New York Film Festival, the Houston International Film Festival (for a commercial) and production awards including the Teddy's, Addy's, and the Golden Moose. In 2013, Babe and Kris were nominated by Ottertail County as Conservationists of the Year for the state of Minnesota. The award recognized the work they have done at some land they bought for hunting with the whole family in 2002 and turned it into a wilderness paradise.


  1. ^ "Good Fishing - Babe Winkelman Productions". Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  2. ^ "Outdoor Secrets - Babe Winkelman Productions". Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  3. ^ a b c "in his own words... Babe Winkelman: Making Sausage, Passing the Hat, Finding Fame in Fishing and Hunting - MidWest Outdoors". MidWest Outdoors. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  4. ^ "Winkelman Building Co. LLC | Construction Management | Green Building". Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  5. ^ a b JARANOWSKI, MARTY. "Face-to-face. Babe Winkelman". Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  6. ^ "10 Fishing Show Hosts of the 90s: Where Are They Now?". Wide Open Spaces. 2015-12-17. Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  7. ^ "BABE WINKELMAN PRODUCTIONS, INC. Trademarks :: Justia Trademarks". Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  8. ^ "About Us - Babe Winkelman Productions". Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  9. ^, AldoDesign -. "Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum - Hayward, Wisconsin". Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  10. ^ "Babe Winkelman - Fishing Hall of Fame of Minnesota". Fishing Hall of Fame of Minnesota. Retrieved 2017-09-15.


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