About Us

How We Got Started

The Tauscher and Cole Family have lived on the Tauscher family homestead in Chehalis, Washington for nearly 130 years. Noel Cole married the love of his life, Barbara Tauscher Cole, after serving in Japan during World War II. They eventually settled in Chehalis and had four children. Noel worked hard at The Yard Birds Family Shopping Center to support his family and retired after 37 years. Noel’s respite from the stress of his work days was working outside on the family homestead.

Noel, an individual with a passion for the outdoors and fishing, started his project in 1982. After digging a fishpond and raising trout as a hobby for several years Noel decided to partner with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to raise steelhead salmon. When he heard about barrier free fishing, recreational areas designed with alternative means of access for those with physical or other disabilities, Noel was impassioned to offer this community service. After discussions with various organizations, a plan was put in place with the fish and wildlife department and the Olympia WA Chapter of Trout Unlimited in 1983 to offer barrier free fishing to local special needs students, facility-bound elders, and disabled veterans.

 Noel built wheelchair ramps over the pond and made all adjustments needed to make the pond accessible to everyone. Since inception, over 3,000 underserved community members have been through the program and have had an opportunity to experience trout fishing in the beautiful outdoors.  

Where We’re At

 

We have FIVE generations loving and enjoying the homestead and ready to take on the responsibility of keeping the Project alive and thriving.

It’s time for the next generations to step in and continue Noel’s work. The pond and the property around it need regular maintenance. Equipment needs to be replaced and systems put in place to continue and expand the program. Our hope is to set the Project up for long-term service and progress with community partners and volunteers.

Each year the same committed gentlemen volunteer their time to help. Most of them are not too far from Dad’s age and it’s time to let them settle into the gentler volunteer jobs. We have a wonderful new group of volunteers and as we ramp up to re-establish Salmon Rearing and to serve more people by offering barrier free fishing, we are open to and welcome energetic new volunteers.

We are searching out funding sources to purchase the needed equipment and upgrades. A detailed list of our needs can be found by clicking the button below.

Our Vision for the Future

In February, 2020, we received 25,000 beautiful Coho smolt. We’ll feed and nurture them until early April when they’ll be released into the river. Our hope is to have Steelhead back in the years to come.

Barrier Free Trout Fishing

Every May the pond is stocked with 3-400 Rainbow Trout for barrier free fishing. The pond has welcomed special needs students, facility bound seniors, and disabled veterans to spend a day out doors and catch a fish. Each group brings their own picnic lunch and after the fishing is done spends some relaxing time, eating and sharing their stories of “catching the big one”! We hope to expand the program to include more groups each year.

Community Outreach

Our partners are our link to our community and surrounding communities.  Participation in events and classes brings awareness to conservation efforts in the region and educates young and old about the lifecycle of our native fish and the environmental impact and needs unique to the Pacific NorthWest.

Steelhead Farming

Noel raised Steelhead Salmon for nearly 30 years. During that time, the North Fork of the Newaukum experienced record breaking returns each year. After the flood of 2009 Noel couldn’t continue raising Steelhead because extensive repairs were needed and it was too difficult for him to manage on his own. Raising Steelhead is a round the clock responsibility for six months of the year. By partnering with community organizations and plenty of volunteers we hope to begin again in 2019.

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