Trout fishing during the "Dog Days" is not only about trying to tickle the desire of experiencing euphoria but it's about the importance of the fish and being sure you do your part to revive them properly. It's more of an ethical issue than anything. To fish or not to fish? I have nothing against anglers fishing during this time of the year but certain steps need to be taken to insure that your catches are fought and released properly.
First and foremost, get on the water from dawn until about noon, if you can. The overnight period is the only time during the 24 hour day that the river and streams have time to cool down a smidgen. That being said, with 90 plus degree days and 70 plus degree nights, like we have here in the Southeast US and elsewhere, there really isn't much of a cool down during that period. Therefore, unless you're fishing a higher elevation, spring fed stream with tons of canopy, or a bottom draw tailwater, I don't think you should trout fish at all. Remember, ideal water temperatures for the cold water trout are between 44 and 64 degrees. Below is a caption about reading the water but it covers temperature ranges, oxygen levels, and the Mr. trouts metabolism (which is controlled mostly by water temperatures).
food. The food; aquatic insects and their larvae, minnows of all types and crustaceans are prolific and abundant. The fisherman only has to give a proper presentation and he will hook a trout. The great decline starts when the water temperature climbs to 68 f. Brown, Brook and Cutthroat trout start to feel what I call the frying pan effect. Unless there is a lot of turbulence to oxygenate the water, the dO2 falls rapidly to perilously low levels. The trout’s metabolism is racing furiously along and he is burning oxygen as fast as he can adsorb it from the water. As the sun heats the water, he uses the dO2 faster and faster. With out some type of escape valve he will suffocate. Fishing for Trout by Bryant J. Cochran, Jr.
Next, when you hook a fish land it as quickly as you possible. Try not to putter aimlessly (what I call lallygagging) while playing a fish. Put the "wood" to them, or graphite in our day and age. Use the heaviest leader and tippet material you can get away with. Fluorocarbon is always your best bet. Orvis Mirage is some of the best you'll find.
Once you get the fish to the net (something you must be sure to have and hopefully one with rubber netting like Brodin manufactures). Once netted, be sure to let the fish rest a bit in the net before anything else is done. If you need the "grip and grin" shot be sure to leave the fish in the water, facing upstream, and making sure you have your ducks in a row before you take the shot. When you're ready and the cameraman is ready, pick the fish up and take the shot. Then, back to the net. It is important to learn to hold fish and PLEASE DONT DROP THEM.
Here is another great article from Midcurrent that is a must read: Good Trout Release Practices .Physical exertion from a particularly long fight causes an oxygen deficiency in a fish’s tissues. This forces the fish’s muscles to function without oxygen (anaerobically), which in turn causes lactic acid to build up in the muscle tissue and diffuse into the blood. This subsequently causes the blood pH to drop. Even slight changes in pH can cause disruptions of the metabolic processes that may ultimately kill the fish.If an angler avoids handling the fish and releases it quickly, its blood pH usually returns to normal and the fish survives. But while fish may appear alive after a long fight, when released, the imbalance in the blood chemistry may kill them as much as three days after capture. This is why, with any species, it’s important to choose the right tackle for the job and get the fish in as quickly as possible. Easy Does It by Captain John Murray
Fluorocarbon Leader and Tippet Material
Brodin Ghost Nets