Panfish in rivers

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I've always loved to fish for just about anything and grew up learning from my grandpa who was an above average angler. We always fished dead lakes, ponds or small lakes. He never needed anything other than a Jon boat, with a boat of my own now I fish primarily for catfish in the Oconee river. I am getting back into fishing for bluegill and redbreast but have trouble finding them in the river. I do catch quite a few smaller fish in down tree tops, in eddy water around willows but don't seem to get any nicer fish, anyone got any tips that could increase my bounty? Thanks in advance
I don't fish for bream very much in rivers and creeks but spend a lot of time in them chasing other fish. However, the ones I see and have caught are usually shallow in slack water right next to swift water and usually on a deeper bank. As in shallow with deep water next to it. The Redbreast I see a lot more in creeks and river type environment than bluegill. But that's just me. I have found some good size redbreast on a large impoundment and they are they every year nesting, but it will be beds 2-3 ft. deep and deeper water within a couple feet.