Re: Trout Fly Gear Suggestions?
Todd, welcome to the forum. As you can see there are a lot good folks here ready and willing to give advise and share their experiences. Your question is very general so I will give you a general response.
As others have already recommended, find a fly shop and talk to the people there and cast some rods. They will know much better what to recommend for you because you live in the same area, they know the fish and the water there. When you ask us on a world wide forum you will get people recommending their favorite rod to you based on all kinds of factors but none of which are based on your ponds and your fish.
You also will learn more, faster about fly rods if you are speaking to someone face to face and with a selection of rods in front of you. For example, you've already been recommended 9' 4wt and you saw an 8'6" 4wt and already think that 8'6" is the "right" rod for you - which is NOT the case. You do not know the difference between a 9' rod and 8'6" rod. And that's OK, that is my point. And my advise is to not buy a rod sight unseen because some people told you to on the internet!
Once you do figure out the size and weight rod you want, then some brands to look at that have good reputations and put out good quality rods in a "mid-range" price point are:
Temple Fork Outfitter