Babe Winkelman
YouTube/Babe Winkelman

Babe Winkelman Files for Bankruptcy

Longtime TV fishing host and outdoor legend Babe Winkelman has filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection.

Donald Edward "Babe" Winkleman and his wife, Kristeen Winkleman, both of Brainerd, Minnesota, have recently filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court.

Court documents now show that the 70-year-old host of "Good Fishing" and his wife owe money on two properties: their home near Brainerd and an outdoor recreational property near the town of Perham in Ottertail County.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that, "The documents state that Babe Winkelman Productions grossed $185,240 in 2019, but that business owes $402,280 in trade payables." Winkelman and his wife told the court that they now have around $1.4 million in assets, including the home, the recreational hunting land and various personal items, including other liabilities of over $800,000. (You can learn more about his production company at

It is also reported that they owe "taxes due to the Internal Revenue Service, Minnesota Department of Revenue, balances on multiple credit cards and several other creditors."

Winkelman has since said, "I've never been through anything like this in my life.''

The famed angler has been hosting outdoor programing including fishing and hunting for some 40 years, highlighted by the nationally-syndicated show "Good Fishing," which debuted way back in 1980. While the news is sad for many of the outdoor legend's fans, Winkelman has asserted that once his financial situation is straightened out, his outdoor television shows, currently off the air for over a year, will return to the airwaves.

For concerned fans, it is good to know that, as opposed to filing a Chapter 7 protection claim, (which is total liquidation of assets), a Chapter 13 filing of the federal bankruptcy code provides for debt adjustment to an individual with a regular income, thus allowing the claimant to keep property and pay their debts over time.

Winkelman is well known for promoting Lindy/Little Joe fishing tackle and being a field editor for Fishing Facts Magazine among a host of other publications. He was inducted into the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame 32 years ago in 1988. Almost 20 years ago, the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame inducted him into their hallowed halls as an esteemed member.

Many outdoorsmen will know his face simply by looking at certain cans of Deep Woods OFF insect repellent, as his image began to grace the product all the way back in 1978.

Whether he was covering ice fishing for crappie or walleye, talking deer hunting tips, sharing a wild game recipe, or shooting pheasants in the Midwest, Winkelman proved his excellence in craft while sharing the experience with others.

Put simply, Winkelman is one of the legends of the outdoors industry.

As many of us know, hunting and fishing television series have a harder time competing for viewers in this era due to the attention competition from our phones, tablets, and laptops. Knowing this, many more sportsmen and women are looking to places like YouTube or audio podcasts to satisfy their outdoor knowledge.

Here's hoping that this outdoor ambassador and lifelong fishing and hunting entertainer will land softly and return to the venue that he helped create, and continue to take us along for some "Good Fishing."

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