I love to fish and totally agree with this. I don't know how you have had much luck on this river outside of fly-fishing. If you can find some deep and calm spots you may be able to do a few other things. As to bait for pond or lake fishing. I know it may be gross, but I just don't think anything replaces live bait. Believe it or not, you sort of get used to it. One of things a lot of folks don't know is your fish and wildlife commission can actually tell you, and will be glad to help, in regards to the best baits for the types of fish in your area.