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I wouldn't say it's wrong necessarily...I don't live bait but I've had success with lures targeting obstructions in the current close to shore. Also during high water levels you will find smallies tucked tight to the wall along the East side.

Good Luck out there!
 

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You could put a slip bobber on there and let the minnow drift with the bobber downstream in between that fast current and slack water. Adjust the depths of the bobber so that you are right off the bottom. Add a little weight if it's moving too fast or move it a bit further into the slack water but close enough to the current so there is movement. That may find you more smallies as the water warms plus you can fish the bottom without snagging up as much.

Just because you use live bait does NOT make you a buckethead. Now if you take the fish you catch and throw them on a stringer regardless of the regulations...that would make you a buckethead.
 

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I use jig n live minnow combo almost exclusively on the fox. In my experience it's the best bait for bass and walleye you can use in that river and it's the most fun for the way I fish. Jig n twister or thunderstick crank would be my next choice. Only downside of live bait is it can be a pain lugging around the minnows through the current. The "leech locker" is the smallest one I have found that works without sacrificing quality and having your bait chum the water.

The method JB mentioned is how I got started catching and not just fishing :wink:

I would maybe try a lighter split shot with the set up you're using. 3/8 is too heavy unless you're casting into heavy current. 1/8 or 1/4 is as heavy as I would use. You mentioned you're casting to shoreline stuff like trees and brush, the only reason I can think you're not finding fish there is it is muddy bottom maybe. If you find that sorta stuff with rocky bottom you should find fish. Also back to the weight thing, if you're using 3/8 that leads me to believe you're fishing "in" the current, you really want to fish the sides, seams or slackwater parts of the current. The best is when you see one of those side areas actually have a reverse flow for a small distance, the washout areas are usually great place to find hungry active fish.

More often times than not the bottom substrate of the area of river you're fishing will dictate the species of fish you're catching. Catfish & carp like muddy areas, bass & walleye like rocky areas. Maybe try a spot 1/2 mile north or south of where you have been trying.
 
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