Yeah, TBH, I agree that cranks are a great option for a beginner in the river, especially if you're wading. Snags happen with any setup and texas rigging plastics is not for beginners (though it is my go to for big river bass). My 11 yo son catches good sized smallies (12-18") by casting a small shallow diving crank diagonally upstream through the deeper pools dotted throughout the shallow riffles downstream of any dam. You don't have to drag it on the bottom, they'll nail it at a foot deep or less.
If I can jump over it, I am casting into it!