Rods range from a 0wt to 16wt.. probably some that are bigger or unrated. 14wt or 16wt is for very big fish. There was a board member that got a 11' Mako shark on a 16wt I believe.. A 12wt or 14wt could be used for sails or marlin or anything really big that fights really hard. For NW steelhead an 8wt is perfect for winter fish and at 6wt or 7wt for summer fish. But to simplify all of the advice you've gotten, get a 5wt for trout and an 8wt for steelhead. That's the advice I've given most of my customers, unless they are talking about fishing a specific area, where a lighter rod may be more appropriate. For length, a 9' rod is your best all around length in both weights. If you fish small, brushy creeks than something a little shorter is nice. Just don't overthink it. If you have questions stop by your local fly shop and take a class or just buy what you can afford / need and get out there.. I'll give you a little secret.. the fish don't care what rod you have... your buddy may, but the fish don't give a crap! Good luck!