Muskie attacks woman on Duluth’s Island Lake

Paige Dougherty suffered minor cuts to her foot after a muskie attack Sunday. (Photo courtesy Wendy Haldorson)

A Hermantown woman reportedly was attacked by a muskie on Island Lake near Duluth over the weekend.

Paige Dougherty, 22, was sitting on the dock, dangling her feet in the water, at the family’s cabin on Sunday when a muskie bit her on the right foot. She was wearing an ankle bracelet, and a basket of walleyes the family had caught was tied to the dock in the water nearby, either of which may have prompted the attack.

Her father, Kirk Haldorson, said he saw the fish lingering in the area for a few minutes after the attack and estimated it to be 36 to 40 inches long.

It marked the second time in six weeks that a person was bitten by something in the water on Island Lake. On July 19, 11-year-old Maren Kesselhon of Duluth had her ankle and foot cut in 25 places while hanging off a paddle board. According to reports, she also was wearing an ankle bracelet on the ankle/foot that was attacked. And while she didn’t see what bit her, doctors who tended to her injuries said the wounds likely were caused by a fish.

According to reports at the time, Maren had to undergo surgery to repair a tendon and stitch up the cuts; Dougherty did not seek medical attention, and as of Tuesday, reportedly was recovering well.

The 8,000-acre lake is known to hold large muskies and northern pike – according to reports, a 55-inch muskie was caught on Island last year and a 47-incher was caught there the same day as Maren’s attack. Both fish reportedly were released.

Prior to the two recent incidents, a woman also suffered 25 bite marks when she was attacked by an otter while swimming in the lake in 2012, reports say.

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