Global Range: (20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)) Historically, this species occurred in springs and small streams in the upper Gila River basin in southern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northeastern Sonora, Mexico (Miller and Lowe 1964, Minckley 1973, USFWS 2002, Page and Burr 2011). The vast majority of the range is in Arizona.
In Arizona, Gila chubs are known to have occupied portions of the Salt, Verde, Santa Cruz, San Pedro, San Carlos, San Simon, San Francisco, and Agua Fria drainages and smaller tributaries of the mainstem Gila River. Small remnant populations remain in most of these drainages with the exception of the Salt and San Simon Rivers, where all known populations have been extirpated.
An observation of a Gila chub in Turkey Creek in the upper Gila River Basin in New Mexico was made in 2001 (Telles, pers. comm., 2001, cited by USFWS 2002).
The current known distribution in Mexico has been reduced to two small spring areas, Cienega los Fresnos and Cienega la Cienegita, adjacent to the Arroyo los Fresnos (tributary of the San Pedro River), within 2 km (1.2 mi) of the Arizona-Mexico border (Varela-Romero et al. 1992). No Gila chubs remain in the Mexican portion of the Santa Cruz River basin (Weedman et al. 1996).