I'm a bit of a novice as well so I can only speak from my experience. As far as the rod, it depends where you're planning on fishing and what you're planning on fishing for. I'll assume you are asking specifically for trout since you asked about flies for trout. I have a 9' 5 weight St. Croix that seems much too large for a lot of the brooks that I fish near home. Now when I head out to bigger stretch of the Pequest and Musky, this rod is great but that's not the majority of my fishing. I'd like to get something smaller for the brooks that I fish regularly. As for flies, it depends on the time of year and what stream but I'd start with fishing nymphs (bead head hairs ear, pheasant tail, etc.) below an indicator. When I started, I thought that I was never getting any takes. Then I put on an indicator and realized all of the takes that I was missing all of this time and how subtle a trouts take can be. If the indicator stops, smoothly set the hook. If it drops below the water, set the hook. If it moves any differently than the current carries it, set the hook. You'll be surprised. There are a lot of guys on here who have a ton of knowledge (Bucksnbows is actually a guide too) who I'm sure can give you a lot more advice.