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This article was published 30/7/2020 (286 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Winnipeg woman was taken to hospital in Kenora Saturday after being attacked by a big fish while vacationing near Minaki, Ont.
Kim Driver was standing in water near a boat launch at North Star Village, about to get on a pool float, when a muskellunge — also called a muskie — seized her leg and tore it open.
"All of a sudden I just felt something tap my left leg, like brush it, and then next thing I know it just took a hold of my right leg," Driver told Global News.
"I looked down and I saw the fish’s head, which looked like an alligator, and it just grabbed it and it moved me from side-to-side and then it pulled me under."
The wound is about 17 centimetres across, said Marcy McNally, one of the resort’s owners.
"She was struggling to get out, and she was yelling that something had bit her," McNally said. She witnessed the incident happen at the resort 262 kilometres east of Winnipeg.
Driver was among a dozen people near the boat launch. She was the only one standing in the water; everyone else was on a pool float or on land. When she began yelling, everyone thought she’d been spooked by something rubbing against her, McNally said.
"Then we saw the blood and realized that no, something’s actually bit her," she said.
Two men carried Driver out of the water. A couple of nurses who were at the resort bandaged her leg and sent her off with her husband to Lake of the Woods District Hospital.
"It’s a little scary to think about," McNally said. "I don’t even want to go in the water either, and I’m used to swimming there."
McNally described the bite as a big gash covering the front and back of Driver’s calf. McNally is friends with Driver and has known everyone who was near the boat launch Saturday for 10 to 20 years, she said.
"Everyone’s like a little family... To see how traumatized she was, it was hard for everybody."
McNally has been working at her family-owned resort since she was 16.
"I’ve been there for 50 years and it’s never happened," she said. "Chances are it’ll never happen again."
Pete Maina, a muskie expert who has filmed video segments for Bass Pro Shops, said muskies rarely attack people. "It’s once in a blue moon you hear about it," Maina said.
He said on the occasion muskies do attack, it’s feeding activity — they see something like a hand or foot and think they can eat it. Jewelry, such as anklets, can attract a muskie.
"Eventually they figure out they can’t get it, it’s too big, and they let go," Maina said.
"Of course, the person that it happened to is quite scared."
He said he’s never heard of muskies hurting anyone beyond a bite. The average trophy size muskie is from 50 to 53 inches (127 to 134 centimetres), he said.
The Headliner community journalist
Gabrielle Piché is the community journalist for The Headliner. Gabby is a cub reporter fresh from Red River College’s creative communications program. She majored in journalism and spent the summer of 2020 as an intern at the Winnipeg Free Press. Gabby also has a B.A. in communications from the University of Winnipeg. She reported for newspapers in the Interlake, including the Selkirk Record, in 2019, and received the Eric and Jack Wells Excellence in Journalism award in 2020. When she’s not chasing stories, you can find Gabby listening to podcasts, attempting yoga or petting somebody’s dog Email her at email@example.com