'I came back up screaming': Winnipeg woman recovering after gruesome Muskie attack
The attack happened on July 25, at the North Star Village, a fishing and hunting resort in Minaki, Ont. located approximately 52 kilometres north of Kenora. (Source: North Star Village Resort/ Facebook)
WINNIPEG -- WARNING: The pictures and details in this article may be disturbing to some viewers. Discretion is advised.
A Winnipeg woman has been left with physical and emotional scars after being attacked by a muskie while swimming with her family at a fishing resort.
The attack happened on July 25, at the North Star Village, a fishing and hunting resort in Minaki, Ont. located approximately 52 kilometres north of Kenora.
Kim and Terry Driver, seasonal regulars and experienced anglers at the resort, had taken to the water to cool off.
"I was just standing in water up to my chest – I knew there were weeds over to the side from me, and then I felt something rub on my left leg," Kim said, thinking it was a weed or maybe a turtle they had seen earlier.
Kim said she felt a sharp pain in her leg, and when she looked down she saw what looked like an alligator head.
A muskie, more than one metre long, had grabbed hold of her calf.
"Honestly I don't really remember how it all happened – once it bit me it started flailing me through the water and then took me under," she said. "I started kicking, and I guess obviously punching it, because I have cuts on my hands, and then it let go and I came back up screaming that I needed help – something had bit me."
Kim said when she was hauled out of the water, blood was pouring out the back of her leg. Her rescuers threw a towel over her head so she wouldn't see the extent of the wound.
"It looks just like an alligator attack," Terry said, adding the gash was nearly 18 centimetres (seven inches) wide.
There were nurses at the lodge who were able to help Kim until she was taken to the hospital. Kim said she now requires plastic surgery to repair her calf – a process that will take more than six weeks.
Some of the wounds left on Kim Driver's calf in the aftermath of the Muskie attack. (Submitted: Terry Driver)
But the attack has left more than just physical scars on her leg. Kim said she is emotionally scarred from the attack.
"I can't sleep at night," she said. "I have horrible nightmares and I wake up in a sweat and screaming – it was scary."
MUSKIE ATTACKS INCREDIBLY RARE, EXPERTS SAY
Todd Longley, a professional angler for City Cats Guiding Service, said muskies have been given the nickname the 'fish of 10,000 casts' because they are so difficult to catch.
He said for one to attack someone is extremely rare.
"It just doesn't happen – it's very, very, very rare," he said.
Despite the attack, he hopes it doesn't impact the fishing economy out in Minaki.
"If anything it should stimulate the economy – dude, you want to go out and catch one of these big toothy creatures because they are big, they are beautiful, they live a long time, and to catch a 50 plus inch muskie is amazing," he said.
"They should be respected, but at the same time – they shouldn't be feared. It is just a very, very rare occurrence – that's it."
Kim said she is grateful for the people who were with them at North Star Village during the attack.
Kim Driver's wounds from the Muskie attack will require plastic surgery to repair, she says. (Submitted: Terry Driver)
"I just want to say thank you to everyone that helped us on that Saturday," she said.
Kim and Terry said they will be heading back to the resort, though Kim said she won't be going in the water any time soon.
"I love fishing, but I think that I am going to take a break from fishing because I don't even want to be down by the dock where we think this Muskie is living," she said.
"It's going to take me a while; I mean, I'm going to get back into fishing and that, but the swimming – that may get put on hold for a while."
-With files from CTV’s Jill Macyshon