Kevin Winkler

Born and raised in Todd County, Minn., Kevin Winkler was brought up living the life of a outdoorsman. He loves fishing and hunting and now runs a guide service. He offers fall combo fishing and hunting trips and does some photography on the side. He will talk fishing or hunting with anyone, anytime.

Posts about Fishing Techniques

Hunting for new water.

Posted by: Kevin Winkler Updated: July 7, 2009 - 11:32 PM
  If there is one thing I don't enjoy, that would be combat fishing. Sure put a little money on the line, and I might be willing to rub rails with other boats if they want to. But for the most part, I like to get out and away from the most popular areas on the lake. I like to fish away from the crowds if at all possible. That is why I try and spend several days on the water each year on different lakes, or just different areas of bigger lakes looking for new ground, or is that water. I was out for 6 hours on Monday looking over a lake I have been spending a little more time on this year. For the most part, I had my fishing pole set in the rod holder and was not looking at it very much, I could have just as well never even put the line in the water. My eyes were glued to the electronics.  I like to look for little spots not far from other known areas. For example not 50 yards away from a known reef there might be another small pile of rocks just barely noticeable on sonar. Maybe a bed of clams. something that changes the bottom, but is overlooked by most fisherman.  Most times I learn something new when out there marking new bottom not listed on any maps.  Here's one for you ... How many of you fished a spot for hours with the sonar lit up with fish trying to figure out what you might have in your box to offer them that might change their mind to eat. You try every form of live bait known to man, presented every way known as well, heck you try spinners, jigs, bobbers, spoons, but those fish just don't want to eat. Maybe it's that cold front? Maybe you're thinking it's the moon? (Back to Monday) As I zig-zaged on and off the edges and across the flats looking for these hidden little spot on the spot on the spot areas I was watching the other boats on the lake as well. everyone seemed to be moving from one place to the next like a cake walk.(Add music here) I eased up to one of those areas and dropped the camera down, set the auto-pilot, and watched the screen for details with my finger on the WPT button ... Suckers! hundreds of them! plastered to the bottom of one of the nicest rock piles in the lake. I eased back and forth marking the start and end of the pile on the GPS knowing this is also home to walleyes. I've caught them there. But it was right then and there that I realized that I did get some satisfaction from those fish. They did not even have to stretch my line to do it. I grinned at thinking how many people were fishing those fish thinking they were walleye. I left them alone uninterrupted for the time being. But I am wondering how a big gob of worms laying on the bottom in 23 foot of water might work ... If it's as much fun in the summer as it is in the spring, I see a boat full of kids tormenting those fish real soon.

Predicting fish activity

Posted by: Kevin Winkler Updated: June 22, 2009 - 3:51 PM
  Can solunar table's really help you out on the water? I'm not so convinced with any one chart myself. I have used several of them, and I think you have to dig deeper into the facts and what the fish are reacting to when it comes to the charts, and the type of fish you are targeting in the first place. Fish that are most active under the darkness of night and that use their eyes more than other senses to feed might use the moon to help them. But what if it's a full moon but very cloudy, Does the chart still help you? What if the water is dirty or stained? I think that depends on where you are fishing. Inland lakes are not effected by a tide like coastal waters are. I think barometric pressure has more to do with fish activity than anything. I spent seven years fishing the Gulf of Mexico both on commercial fishing boats and charter boats. One of the first things I was taught about saltwater fishing was how the moon and tides dictate fish movement. How and where to fish the tide and how bait fish react to the tide and moon. The only way to catch bait offshore at night is when there is no moon. The bait will then come to the lights on the boat. Once the moon comes up, the bait scatters and spreads back out. What does all of this have to do with fishing in Minnesota you might be thinking. Well I have used my saltwater knowledge to try and help me here. I feel that bait fish and the predators that feed on the bait will use moon light to help them. Fish will be more active under the moon, but can you use a chart to help you catch more fish? I think that depends on where the chart was printed, or more so, where the data was printed for. If any of you are hunters, you know that the DNR uses a table in the regulations hand book to help you know exactly how to add or subtract time to predict sunrise and sun set. The same goes for the moon, Know when it will rise and when it will set. Know if it rises at 7:37a.m. or 7:37p.m. So if you are reading a fish activity chart that was printed for Ohio and you are fishing in Minnesota, well you just might be off a few hours on your chart.

  I think fisherman have to think more like predators themselves when it comes to light conditions. Now what if it is cloudy? Do the fish still know if there is a moon when it is cloudy?  I feel that fish on inland waters can feel the moon just like they can feel barometric pressure change, after all, it is called gravitational pull. Just like changing weather, or the rise and fall of the barometer, fish can and will be more active during key times of the pull.

   So depending on what type of fish you are after, all of the changes mother nature has to offer us do change the way fish react. I love fishing for walleye, and try to think like one when I try to figure out where and when they might like to feed looking at everything around me. If it's sunny out, I wear my sun glasses ~ Or go deeper where there is less light penetration if it is calm, or maybe to the shade in the weeds and lay low. When it's dark out, I need to turn on the lights to bait the hook, but if the moon is out, I might not have to, it depends if there are clouds too. I feel less predictable when it is dark, almost like I am scattered or stumbling around, maybe a little less consistent in my movements but predictable in my habits.

  Over all I think it is more important to keep a journal for yourself as to where and what you are fishing for. Be sure to write down all of the data, moon rise and set times, your peak fish catching times during the day or night. cloudy or clear, what was the barometric pressure? Do you even have a barometer with you? Give yourself a few years of data and I think you will start to rely on your own moon phase charts and weather patterns to catch more fish.

School's out for summer.

Posted by: Kevin Winkler Updated: June 11, 2009 - 10:49 PM
   Before you start thinking this don't pertain to you because you don't live on a lake or river, Stop! I know Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, but what you might not know is that it is also home to thousands of gravel pits and small creeks and streams that feed into larger rivers or lakes. As a kid I spent thousands of hours with my friends fishing in locations never seen from a road. I'm going to try and help you find some place close to home that might not be more than a short bike ride away for the kids. Some of you may be more lucky than others and have a public fishing pier close to home. If you live out in the sticks like some of us did growing up, a river might be close by.

  If you are reading this I'm going to assume you have computer access to the Minnesota DNR Website. This is the first place to start looking. Just click on the link and surf around in the Airphotos section. There are several other mapping programs on the web that can be used to find remote areas of water close to your home. Keep in mind you will need to find out who owns the land and you will need to ask permission to gain access to these locations, but it can be well worth the time and energy to seek out these hidden little gems. One little gravel pit I fished as a kid seemed to have a never ending supply of pike in it to stretch the string and keep my friends and I happy for countless hours. Some little creeks can be very deceiving to the eye at first glance. You might not think by looking at a creek from the road that there might be fish in it. You might even say you could jump across that puddle. The truth is, in the spring of the year when the water is high many species of fish go up these small little brooks and get trapped in some of the deeper pools, and those are the areas you are looking for on the map.

  Make it a summer project and give the kids something to do other than sit and play video games all day. Spend time with them on the computer teaching them how to read a map and show them how to get to these locations. Have them knock on a few doors and ask if they can gain access to a small pit or creek. 

   Once you do have a location picked out and you have access to it, start out small with the bait. First you need to see if there are in fact bait fish in those holes. A small hook and a worm will do the trick, and minnows make great bait for bigger fish. Small spoons and spinners are a must have for the box. Red and Whites for the spoons and yellows for the spinners to keep it simple yet very effective.

   Feel free to use the comment section under this blog if you would like more help or have any questions. Good luck and most of all, have fun. 

Fishing the other end of the lake.

Posted by: Kevin Winkler Updated: June 9, 2009 - 10:40 PM
 How do you choose what location to fish on a lake?  Do you look at a map first and study it looking for a flat or a hump? Do you look for a weed bed or a point sticking out into the lake? Maybe you look for a nice calm spot out of the wind. Do you look where other boats are and then just join the pack? Have you ever wanted to find fish where there are no other boats? Maybe you've tried, and never had the best success. Do you feel intimidated by big lakes and choose only to fish small lakes because you just don't know where to start looking on big lakes?

 If you're  like me, you've probably read about everything you can get your hands on. Watched video after video, and every program on TV filling your head with every little tid-bit of info you can.  Do you still feel like you still just can't put it together once you are on the water?

 If I had to choose the number one mistake I see over and over again while on any body of water big or small... I'd have to say too many people spend way too much time running from one end of the lake to the other jumping from one spot to the next and they don't spend enough time looking for fish in a smaller area of that body of water.

 For example lets say lake X is 1,168 acres. You've never fished it before. But a friend showed you a few pictures from a week or two earlier of a fantastic Walleye bite him and a couple buddy's raked in on. You want to try your luck there now and the only info you have is that they fished in 12-16 foot of water with Crawlers. Let's say you buy a map and mark all of the prime looking 12-16 foot of water. Humps, Points, Breaks, Inside turns, Outside turns, Saddle areas, flats. By the time you are done the map looks like it had been around for years, but only you know that it's the first time the map has been in the boat. You spend half of the day running every piece of water in the 12-16 foot range and start calling your buddy a liar because there is no way he was on that lake.  The truth of the matter is, your buddy could have been there before the bug hatch. Maybe the moon was just right. Storm front moving in or out maybe? Water temp? The fact is that those fish might have moved a little deeper or shallower.

 When I go to a new lake, I first look at a map. Depending on the size of the lake I might cut it in half or maybe thirds, maybe ever quarters or sixteenths if need be. I think more people would catch more fish more often if they would spend more time hunting for fish in smaller areas of the lake rather than running from one end to the other. 

  I'll bet you my hat right now that if you watch close the next time you are on the lake that most of the boats you see leaving the public access on the east side of the lake will be the guys/gals fishing the west end of the lake. The people launching on the North side of the lake have to fish on the south side of the lake. And most of the boats leaving their cabins ... Yep you guessed it, the best fishing areas are always on the other end of the lake.

 I hope you all see a little humor in this blog. I just got off the lake and was having this very conversation with a resort owner I know. We both got a good smile out of the topic, I hope you do too. Until next time ... See you on the other end of the lake, and if you do see me, wave me down and say hello.

Fishing the other end of the lake.

Posted by: Kevin Winkler Updated: June 9, 2009 - 10:40 PM
 How do you choose what location to fish on a lake?  Do you look at a map first and study it looking for a flat or a hump? Do you look for a weed bed or a point sticking out into the lake? Maybe you look for a nice calm spot out of the wind. Do you look where other boats are and then just join the pack? Have you ever wanted to find fish where there are no other boats? Maybe you've tried, and never had the best success. Do you feel intimidated by big lakes and choose only to fish small lakes because you just don't know where to start looking on big lakes?

 If you're  like me, you've probably read about everything you can get your hands on. Watched video after video, and every program on TV filling your head with every little tid-bit of info you can.  Do you still feel like you still just can't put it together once you are on the water?

 If I had to choose the number one mistake I see over and over again while on any body of water big or small... I'd have to say too many people spend way too much time running from one end of the lake to the other jumping from one spot to the next and they don't spend enough time looking for fish in a smaller area of that body of water.

 For example lets say lake X is 1,168 acres. You've never fished it before. But a friend showed you a few pictures from a week or two earlier of a fantastic Walleye bite him and a couple buddy's raked in on. You want to try your luck there now and the only info you have is that they fished in 12-16 foot of water with Crawlers. Let's say you buy a map and mark all of the prime looking 12-16 foot of water. Humps, Points, Breaks, Inside turns, Outside turns, Saddle areas, flats. By the time you are done the map looks like it had been around for years, but only you know that it's the first time the map has been in the boat. You spend half of the day running every piece of water in the 12-16 foot range and start calling your buddy a liar because there is no way he was on that lake.  The truth of the matter is, your buddy could have been there before the bug hatch. Maybe the moon was just right. Storm front moving in or out maybe? Water temp? The fact is that those fish might have moved a little deeper or shallower.

 When I go to a new lake, I first look at a map. Depending on the size of the lake I might cut it in half or maybe thirds, maybe ever quarters or sixteenths if need be. I think more people would catch more fish more often if they would spend more time hunting for fish in smaller areas of the lake rather than running from one end to the other. 

  I'll bet you my hat right now that if you watch close the next time you are on the lake that most of the boats you see leaving the public access on the east side of the lake will be the guys/gals fishing the west end of the lake. The people launching on the North side of the lake have to fish on the south side of the lake. And most of the boats leaving their cabins ... Yep you guessed it, the best fishing areas are always on the other end of the lake.

 I hope you all see a little humor in this blog. I just got off the lake and was having this very conversation with a resort owner I know. We both got a good smile out of the topic, I hope you do too. Until next time ... See you on the other end of the lake, and if you do see me, wave me down and say hello.

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