OK, I was incorrect in my response on tribal permits in an earlier post.
I was informed from a veteran boater that technically you don't need a two day tribal pass for a through trip. I believe that to be true, however the following statement is on the Tonto website. Better to be safe than sorry.
Recreation permits issued by the White Mountain Apache Tribe are required for whitewater boaters utilizing the portion of river flowing through the reservation. Tribal jurisdiction applies to the approximately 30-mile stretch of river downstream from First Campground and the Highway 60 Bridge. Whitewater boating is strictly prohibited by the Tribe through those sections of the canyon upstream of Apache Falls (one-quarter mile above Highway 60 bridge).
For more information on permit costs and regulations call tribal officials at 928- 338-4385.
I am a strong believer in paying the tribe. To have the ability to boat that stretch is worth it. I have to pay our gov' 6 bucks just to float the flat stretch twenty minutes from my house in the summer. They do some work on the road and have port a johns there (sometimes - on each of these) so I consider it my part to cover these 'amenities'......
Apply for a permit this year. Try to get a later date than in a typical year, I suggest sometime in April ( I usually apply for early March dates). Depending on temperatures in the spring we may have water through May. Last time the winter was similar, spring of '01, we made it into early June for raft trips. When you get your permit hit me up, I bring a plethora of gear, laughs, experience to any river trip I am on! Notice I didn't mention ability!
I'm planning a trip prior to permit season as well. Good Luck on landing a permit!