JJ asks us to
Name the easiest on the lists.
as a tyro myself, i'll wade in:
Elk Hair Caddis because
1.its fat body can stand heavy beginner-type dubbing
2. its hackle isn't really hard to wind down the body
3. the hair wing is an essential technique and really fun to get right
4. they catch fish in all sizes so you can start big and work smaller as your skill improves.
Pheasant Tail Nymph because
1. pheasant tails are pretty and not too expensive
2. you can learn about beads, or not
3. you can learn about weighting, or not
4. they catch fish in lots of sizes (see EHC above)
Foam Beetle because
1. they are simple, but can be gussied up if you like with striped foam
2. you can hang your home-tied PT from it and catch twice as many fish
3. you can tie them a little bigger than other things so your fly box looks fuller.
i didn't like tying wooly buggers as a beginner because they had so many parts i kept forgetting, and i have never caught a fish on one. ever.
the best gift anyone ever gave me for tying flies is a book called The Benchside Introduction to Fly Tying
by Leeson and Schollmeyer. the technique pages and the tying instruction pages are on different half-papers so you can flip the technique pages in the middle of tying. i have learned how to do a lot of things using this book right up to a very nice Royal Wulff . The illustrations are very clear. not cheap, so maybe someone will give you a birthday present. personally, i'm asking for Gonzo's book next.