The biggest improvement in fly tackle since I was a rooky was not from fiberglass to graphite rods, or the bewildering expansion of choices in line configurations. It was simply the amazing improvement in strength ratings for leaders and tippets of a given size. When I started, 5X nylon was around 2 lb. test, and I broke off many flies using it, even when striking smallish trout. Now, premium 5X is around 5 pound test; you can darn near anchor a boat with it.
You can get along fine without the most expensive rods and reels. Instead, spend a few more bucks for premium grade tippet material.
You'll save money in the long run if you learn to tie your own leaders. You don't need every possible variation, but you do need enough to match the many conditions of trout fishing. Overcast day, rifled, discolored water, big nymphs or streamers on a sinking line? Perhaps a lX or 2X leader, half the length of your rod. Bright day, smooth water, little dry flies, post-graduate trout (as on some of your famous spring creeks): a 15-foot, 7X leader may be barely enough. You'll learn about leader formulas as your experience increases. It's a string, not a jet airplane wing, so don't lose sleep over whether the fourth section from the top should be 12" or 15."