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As It Was: Fake Warden Searches Cars for Illegally Caught Fish

A superabundance of “Medford (distilled) spirit” was blamed for several phony searches for illegally caught fish near Grants Pass in 1913.

A man claiming to be a fish warden stopped a car near the Ament Dam.  Inside were a county prosecutor and a former mayor of Grants Pass, who were thoroughly searched for illegal fish possession before being allowed to proceed.  When Elmer Dunbar was stopped, he expected to be robbed, and was greatly relieved when it turned out to be a fish search.  Meanwhile, the alleged warden stopped a carload of tourists from Crescent City.

When the Josephine County sheriff got word something fishy was going on, he set out to see if he, too, might enjoy the distinction of being stopped.  By the time he got there, the alleged warden was gone. 
The Fish and Game warden had no knowledge of a fish search in the area, dismissing the incident as the antics of a Medford drunk.

Maybe he was lucky he didn’t stop Ray Diamond, a notorious Roseburg-area, fugitive bank robber on the run at the time.


Source:  Fishermen Suspected of Catching Fish." Rogue River Courier, 18 July 1913 [Grants Pass OR] , p. 1. Historic Oregon Newspapers, oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088281/1913-07-18/ed-1/seq-1/. Accessed 23 July 2017.

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.