Great novel set in Rangeley region

Writing a novel set in the Rangeley region, including some of my favorite fishing spots, Robert J. Romano, Jr., hit a homerun. Or, I guess you could say he caught me.

The River King, billed as a fly-fishing novel, is certainly that. The story is intriguing, with interesting characters, but the many fishing outings in the book really hooked me.

Kathy Scott, one of my favorite fly fishing enthusiasts and writers, said it well when she wrote, “Romano so captures the essence of my favorite Maine haunts that I almost drove up to check. Highly recommended reading.”

I agree Kathy! And half way through the novel, I actually called a friend who has a camp on the Magalloway River and scheduled a fishing adventure there in June! I’ll save this novel and give it to my friend when we take that trip.

I especially loved Romano’s old guys, who had camps behind the Parmacheene gate, and knew all the great spots to fish. I have fished them all, and they are very special. Thankfully, Romano didn’t actually include some of my very favorite spots. I’m guessing he may know them, but like me, wants to keep them secret.

The aggravation that some locals felt for anglers “from away” sounded familiar too. I gave up fishing the Kennebago River in the fall because it was jammed with nonresident anglers.

I can’t say it any better than my friend Paul Reynolds of Northwoods Sporting Journal, who wrote: “Bob Romano once again nails it when it comes to an engaging tale about small-town rural Maine. Romano knows how to skillfully weave a tale that combines a story of people’s workaday struggles with thoughtful character development and a razor sharp sense of place.”

You will really enjoy this novel, and as soon as you finish it, you’ll plan a fishing adventure in the Rangeley region.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.