Seth Green was born in Rochester, New York. He was an outdoor enthusiast and ran a fish and game shop in Rochester before conceiving the idea of propagating his own stock of fish. In 1864 he opened up the first fish hatchery in the Western Hemisphere in Caledonia, New York farming salmon. Later, he expanded his techniques to other species, including shad and trout.
Green received many awards for his ideas and developments. The Seth Green Trail in Rochester is named after him. Green has been credited by some biographers for inventing the fishing reel as well as the Seth Green Rig for trout fishing.