When Paul Maclean ’24 worked as a reporter in Montana, he also edited Montana Fish and Game Notes, which featured both signed and unsigned stories. The following short item titled “Unique… If True” from the February 1936 issue was unsigned, but seems likely to have come from the pen of Paul Maclean.
Years ago, near the State Penitentiary, a certain deputy game warden encountered a problem that even the Attorney General or Blackstone himself could not have solved. The story goes that a group of prisoners detailed to road work was near a choice fishing stream which had been closed by order of the Fish and Game Department.
In the group there were a few followers of Isaac Walton who had fallen from the “straight and narrow” but still were followers of that great leader of the angling fraternity.
In their spare moments the prisoners improvised fishing rods and other equipment. At any rate, while they were supposed to be constructing roads and literally making “little ones out of big ones”, [sic] they sauntered away with their fishing stuff and tossed a hook into the favored but closed stream nearby. A deputy game warden surprised them as they were enjoying this sport with the fighting, ravenous and plentiful trout abounding in the stream.
“You are under arrest”, [sic] the deputy game warden said, and I’ll have to take you to jail.”
“You can’t arrest us”, [sic] they said in chorus, as they continued to cast their lines upon the enticing riffles of the closed waters.
“And why not?” inquired the deputy game warden, disclosing his badge.
“Because we are already in prison”, [sic] the spokesman said as a two-pound Rainbow struck his prison-made hook.
The outcome was that the warden of the penitentiary was called upon to admonish his enthusiastic convict fishermen.