I've been to the boundary waters twice about 20 years ago. Yeah, we had slow days and great days. We caught a ton of small smallies, but we caught some lunkers, too. We were fishing leaches at a walleye spot to get some supper, and my buddy foul-hooked the biggest smallie I've ever seen. We had no scales, but we all thought it went over 7 pounds. Of course, none of us knew what the heck we were talking about, so I can't be sure.
The best thing, though, was that we never saw a soul in many miles for the week we were there (twice). No motors, no noises, just fishing all day out of a canoe. Man, those black flies beat the crud out of us though. What fond memories!
The big winner was the Charlie Brewer slider. All the Canadiens laughed at it and said it would never work. It wore them out!
I'm dying to go back. I wonder if it is as isolated as it was back then. I guarantee those fish had never seen a lure.