The Cross Water at Barrhill is a black peaty water that supports a few trout and salmon in the lower reaches. We monitor a site just upstream of the village at the Martyrs Tomb. We normally find a few better than average trout (for this burn) and this year was no exception. The largest trout had an interesting and painful looking injury on it’s back. I think it was 268mm long which makes it close to a half pounder.

A good trout for the Cross Water but that's a nasty looking bite on it's back.

Quite a chunk of flesh missing but what caused this?

From the side the bite was V shaped but from above it looked more rounded.

There can only be a few candidates for such an injury. When we operated the smolt trap on the Ayr in 2010 we noticed many smolts with similar v shaped marks on their sides but none had the flesh broken. We attributed those to herons or other predatory birds but I’m not so sure about this injury and the alternative mammals don’t really seem to fit the bill either (otter or mink). What do you think? Any suggestions.