Hey Chased, Welcome and glad you have found us.
You will find most here are full of insight and willing to help.
As for your search-- I know it sounds like generic advise, but what may be the perfect rod for me will likely not be the perfect rod for you. As such, I'd say find a few in the price point that you want, and cast them. you will know what feels best to you.
As for weights, I'd look in the 5 or 6 wt. range. anything lighter and you might have a hard time throwing some bigger flies (weighted streamers, deer hair bug/ poppers if you have any Bass fishing near by..., etc. will give you trouble with a lighter line. Anything bigger than the 5 or 6 wt, and you might lose some sensitivity.) the size of fish that you mentioned could be landed without much 'drama' on a 5 wt. A 6 wt. might get them in a little quicker (although not a measurable difference in fighting the fish)....
As a beginner, I'd look into med action sticks. All of the hype these days is a super fast action rod, but IMO, it is just hype. You may even find that a rod to the slow action side fits you best-- if this is the case, that is what you need. Don't worry about what the manufacturer's literature tells you-- they are trying to sell rods--- Find what feels best to you. Sure, in the best casters hands, a fast rod will likely shoot line better than a slow rod, but for you and I, the rod that fells best will perform best.
I have a fast action 5 wt. that doesn't get used much. I thought I needed a fast action for punching big bass bugs into tight cover-- I CAN cast it, I just don't particularly LIKE to. I'd rather focus on fishing than focus on my casting stroke.
As for brands-- you are on your own.
I happen to really like the Cabelas branded rods. Fit and finish always seems to be nice enough, and they just do what they are supposed to do. But, I also wear a timex and not a rolex....
Hope this helps.