Walking into the emergency room triage area at the Dryden Regional Health Centre in northwestern Ontario, visitors may notice a wall-mounted display case featuring a number of fishing hooks.

What they may not know is those hooks have been pulled out of the bodies of anglers by physicians at the hospital.

"There's a variety of fish hooks depending on what our harvest was like for the year," Dr. Adam Moir, a family physician and emergency room doctor in Dryden, told CBC Thunder Bay's Superior Morning.

It's not an uncommon occurrence for doctors in the city about 350 kilometres west of Thunder Bay. There's even a little competition at the ER to see who can collect the most hooks from fishing mishaps.

"It's always voluntary, we don't ever force a patient [to give up their hook], they know that it's there," he said. "A lot of the time they have a good sense of humour about it."

The 'last resort'

Moir said he has pulled hooks of all types out of many body parts — above the eyes, and in cheeks, chests and arms — but "we won't go into any of the regions where bathing suits cover."

One thing that is common, Moir said, is that just about every patient has attempted to pull the hook out themselves before seeking medical attention.

'Going to the emergency department is definitely the last resort.' -Dr. Adam Moir

"You have to remember that these are all [anglers] and they're pretty tough," he said, laughing. "So they've already made a wholehearted attempt to pull the hook out."

"Going to the emergency department is definitely the last resort."

Even though many come in "with their heads hung low," Moir said the anglers, once shot full of freezing and unhooked, are appreciative.

"I actually had one guy who was from the states and he said ... 'You come down to Kansas City and I'm going to take you to a Kansas City Royals game,'" Moir said. "A lot of times people have a lot of laughs while we're pulling the hooks out."