If you enjoy catching northern pike, a day trip into Kelsey lake is a blast. The lake is absolutely loaded with pike in the 2 lbs ~ 4 lbs range. We caught hundreds of pike from that lake, but never came across one any larger than about 6 lbs. Catching 20+ pike in a couple of hours pretty routine in this lake.
The largest pike that I ever caught was from LaCroix back in 1993 - 45.5 inches and 25 lbs; it was in Boulder Bay.
An option for your consideration - My brother and I took our father up to the BWCA a few years back. We rented 14' outboards and base camped out of Basswood (Pipestone Bay). This allowed us to take a bunch of extra stuff to help make the trip more comfortable (nice chairs for sitting, good seat with backrest for boat, etc). Much like your approach, Dad just walked the portage with a couple of rods and we took care of the rest.