Congrats! Feels good doesn’t it. The best advice I ever received off here when I got into the floppy stick was (and there has been a lot), “don’t even bother bringing your spin gear. Force yourself to use the wiggle rod.” Buggy whippers are an art form, eventually you will find your style.
#14 Parachute Adams is almost perfect for stocker trout, big ones will take it as well, but it is large enough to keep most pan fish off. You could probably use a #12 as well. Do shy away from big bugs. Some of those hits were probably just missed hook sets which could have been for any number of reasons. Line too “loose” on the water, set too early, set too late, the fish missed it, etc.
The PA is a great fly and will work almost anywhere. If you haven’t already been told here some other great staples you should have in your box
Caddis (tan, brown, peacock, white)
Tricos for early mornings in summer especially up there around lake George.
Blue Damsels (a burgundy one in the box doesn’t hurt)
Pheasant tails (bead head and non, flashback or traditional.
Zebra midges (all the colors not even kidding)
Rs2 (grey, white, sparkle)
San Juan worm (red, burgundy, tan)
When you get in to stripping bugs
Wooly buggers (black olive white) < IMO the best to learn with.
Leeches (black olive)
Im sure others will recommendations also, but those are bugs I’ve had in boxes since I started and will still regularly use pretty much everywhere I go.
If you plan on sticking with the bendy pole, I highly suggest getting a decent rod/reel set up. They really do make a difference over the cheap outfits.
If you’re already up in lake George you might as well go up to the upper sections of the skunk mile canyon and go wrestle some river piggy’s.
Bron is spot on. Not just Denver metro lakes but any of these front range lakes. Pan fish are great for refining skills. Even those stupid fish will go after blade of grass on a hook, targeting them will help you in countless ways, from different forms of casting, to honing in your timing (they hit fast). Some of us won’t ever admit but we all will spend time going after those spiney little bastards for one reason or another.