Re: 1st time trout fishing
All of the above is dead on. I totally agree with ffffg about adding a dropper rig to your skills as a fly fisherman. I've had my greatest success with such a setup.
Next time your at you trout stream you might consider taking a sample of the insects that are floating in the water. This will give you a better idea as to what the trout may be cueing in on. My bet is a midge of some sort. Entomology is fun and just another aspect to learn in my opinion to be successful in the sport of fly fishing. If I remember right you like reading the American Angler. They always have a good section Etomomology. I have other resources as well if you are interested.
Try a 18 to 20 zebra or disco midge. Also depending on the type of vegetation in the stream you could even run into some scuds or sowbugs.
Hope this helps.
"Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after"
Henry David Thoreau