I spent some time last night (in between periods of the Bruins v. Canadians game) and this morning tying the double surgeon's knot and I am over the hump.
Thanks to everyone for the encouragement and tips especially Mike C for pushing me away from being cheap with the line. I also practiced the Duncan Loop Knot that I find practical and easy enough to use in the field. I also bought a Nail Knotter at LL Bean the other day (it feels like cheating but it may come in handy some day).
Reading Hatch Guide for New England Streams by Thomas Ames. It will help build upon all the information that people have been giving me.
Rain in the forecast so I may not get to put the knots to good use for a couple of days. Maybe I will do some scouting along the banks to see what type of bugs are around for the trout to eat. I think I will explore more of the river also (it is several miles long and empties into the Merrimack River that empties into The Atlantic Ocean).