A buddy and I just ran the Verde from Beasly to Horshoe dam a couple weeks ago. Flow was around 200-350CFS (it rained on the way down). I would agree that there are many very narrow channels with lots of strainers. Not sure how a raft would get through there, but an IK or paddle cat would be ok I think with the right flows. We had packrafts, and even then strainers caused a few swims. That said we saw a crew of rangers on the river (they had IK's) and they were working on removing vegetation. Maybe things will improve. Verde falls was the only thing we portaged because it looked super boney at that level. I think maybe there was a line though. Maybe.
On the positive side, we saw lots of river otters, bald eagles, bighorn sheep, and plenty of other birds. Plus the scenery is great and the bonus of having 2 hot springs and one warm spring on the way is cool as well. The tub at sheep bridge is operational, but it is hidden in the reeds. From the river, someone chopped a tunnel trough the reeds to the tub (made of stones). It feels very Indiana Jones going through that way. You are crouched down super low and it is very dark in the tunnel. Alternatively, you can go to the west side of the bridge and drop down to the springs - just look for a trail.
The rest of the way to Horshoe was beautiful except there was one nasty strainer that got my buddy and he took a long swim. Throwbag rescue ensued. The reservoir was almost completely empty so we had flow all the way to the take out. I much prefer the horshoe take out over the marathon drive to and from sheep bridge.
Great trip all in all I think. Some huge, beautiful, and remote country out there. Just be careful of the vegetation.
Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz