The story begins March 19, 1817 where in a small cabin on Culver Road near Empire Blvd in Rochester NY Seth Green was born into a family of farmers. He was taught from a very young age how to plant crops, hunt and fish. Eventually his family, being sick of farming, moved to a then just developing area called Carthage on the Genesee River near the Lower Falls where they opened a tavern on the high banks of the river.
As a boy Seth quickly became friends with some local Seneca Indians and over the years they taught each other hunting and fishing secrets they had learned from their fathers. As a young man he would catch fish in the lower falls and sell them to locals and ships crews that were docked in port. When coming of age, Seth found he had to start providing for himself and having such a solid foundation in fishing, he choose that route.
The timing was right, he started moving about to different fishing areas and eventually found himself with enough business to open a shop right on Front Street, near the High Falls. The new shop grew over the years and became very successful, so much in fact that by 1857 Green was considered the largest dealer of fish in NY and also the greatest fishermen in the state. Under his command, his team of 100 men was reeling in anywhere from 12 to 25 tons of fish a month.
In 1864, after years of studying, catching and selling fish, Seth thought maybe there could still be more. That summer he sought out some experimenting grounds and moved in on an area he knew to be an ideal location. Fed by fresh springs and with a consistently cold temperature of 45-60 degrees, Caledonia Creek was perfect for hatching brook trout free of season-limitations and pollution.
Soon there were large buildings packed along the creek and the Caledonia Fish Hatchery was born. Inside were huge tanks where Green began his famous research in fish hatching and where he would ultimately perfect Artificial Propagation. At that time, most hatcheries were getting about a 25% hatch rate but by using Dry Impregnation Seth was able to achieve over 97% success rate. This trick was kept secret for years and helped Green become even more successful and famous than ever before.
Seth is well known for having at one time the largest fish hatchery in the East and for the hard work he did that birthed an industry. Raising trout actually became a fad in the 1870’s because of him. The story goes on and if you’re interested pick up a copy of Seth Green-Father of Fish Culture by Black, it’s recommended reading.
Seth Green died August 18, 1888 and is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery.
- editorial content courtesy of RocWiki.com authored by Rick Urwin.
Seth Green’s Caledonia Hatchery is located in Livingston County in the Village of Caledonia. It is the oldest hatchery in New York State as well as the nation. Caledonia Hatchery rears brown trout along with a limited number of splake (from speckled trout and lake trout). A considerable number of the two-year-old brown trout used in the New York State DEC’s stocking program, for 13-15 inch trout, are produced at the Caledonia Hatchery. Annually, the production of brown trout and splake is approximately 170,000 pounds.
- editorial content courtesy of New York State Department of Conservation
Adventure through the Seth Green Trail located in Seneca Park and follow this historical path. The trail uncovers a spectacular view of the gorge, dramatic rock faces and a sensational look onto Genesee River’s High Falls. Visit Footprint Press online for more information.
Available for download are a few resources about Seth Green, Sarah McBride, and local history.
The rich history of Seth Green and Sarah McBride are unmistakably our areas greatest stories that go to often untold. Below are links to pdf articles sharing those stories. Please download and read the articles and discover the truths to our areas history and ties to fish culture and the successes of trout; locally, nationally, and even internationally.
Rochester History; by Dexter Perkins, City Historian and Blake McKelvey, Assistant City Historian,
Vol. VI, July, 1944, No. 3; Original Seth Green, Father of Fish Culture – by Sylvia Black
Seth Green, Father of Fish Culture; by Sylvia R. Black; revised layout 2006
Article – German Trout; Published: July 29, 1886; Copyright © The New York Times
The History of Sarah McBride; by Michael R. McNulty; Published Date Unknown
Entomology for Fly Fisherman, by Sarah J. McBride; 1st published in Rochester Express March 3, 1877; revised layout 2006