Bewl Water, Kent, UK
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland you are required by law to have an Environment Agency rod licence. Strangely in Scotland you do not need one. Licences (trout) can be bought for a day, a week or fortnight or for the year. Costs range from £3.50 (day) to £27 (annual). Game (migratory) fishing licences are a lot more expensive. In England and Wales you get licences from the Post Office website. There are hardly any general “rules” published in the UK but I think using explosives is outlawed! Commercial fisheries and clubs have their own rules.
In the USA each State issue rod licences and the format of the licence can be a bit complicated, in fact I think it fair to say that the whole question of fishing in the USA is a lot more complicated than in the UK. This is not surprising as States cover vast areas with a wild diversity of fishing habitat. If you go on the web and look at the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife website you will see that their whole Sport Fishing Rules document is 135 pages long. The fresh water section is 95 pages long and deals individually with each lake and river. You can learn a lot if you have time to read it! If you are only out for a few days you are well advised to seek the services of a fishing guide, they should keep you out of jail!